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Editor, The Beacon:

“Joy! Hope! Pride! Gratitude!” The announcements during the past two weeks about positive Phase 3 results for not one, but two, vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) against the COVID-19 virus, finally reversed my feelings of fear, frustration and despair. After the dismal events of 2020, I needed that.

We have many people to thank for this promising news. 

The federal employee research scientists at the National Institutes of Health dedicated their lives to the development of a new approach to fighting viruses, one that works by creating a short segment of messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) that causes some cells to trigger an immune response.

Scientists working for research universities and the pharmaceutical manufacturers created and perfected the vaccines using this technology.

Philanthropists, organizations and governments provided funding for the scientists, including Dolly Parton’s million-dollar donation to Vanderbilt University, which helped Moderna develop its vaccine.

Finally, thousands of volunteers became human guinea pigs to test the vaccines to determine their effectiveness. I am proud to be a Phase 3 trial participant for the Moderna vaccine as a test subject for the category of “elderly.”

DeLand’s own Accel Research, under Dr. Bruce Rankin, is conducting trials for both of these two vaccines.

Yet, there is a long way to go. Federal scientists at the Food and Drug Administration need to review the research results to assure safety and effectiveness, before approving the vaccines for use. Then the real work begins. The logistics expertise of Defense Department civilian employees and military personnel as DOD contractors has been tapped for the massive task of distributing hundreds of millions of doses across the country.

Each of you can also help us move past COVID-19. 

Take the vaccine when it is available to you, but be patient as higher-priority individuals receive their vaccinations first. In the meantime, wear your mask, stay socially distant, avoid crowds, and follow your mother’s advice, wash your hands a lot.

During this Thanksgiving season, be thankful for the many who contributed to this scientific breakthrough. Joy, hope, and pride in this great nation will make 2021 a truly happy New Year.

B. Virginia Comella

DeLand

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