AstraZeneca’s vaccine against Covid-19 is likely to be approved for emergency use in the United States soon. Preliminary data from three trials, unveiled last week, indicates that it doesn’t merely prevent the symptoms from wreaking havoc on a recipient’s body: it prevents transmission, too.
The term “Covid-19” is often used both for the underlying virus and for the disease that it spreads. Technically, though, the term is short for “Coronavirus Disease 2019.” The virus is designated SARS-CoV-2.
Scientists have long been concerned that the vaccines that have been coming on line over the last four months will allow SARS-CoV-2 to continue to spread, even though they will operate to make them (mostly) harmless for their human hosts. This is why they have been urging people to continue using masks and practicing social distancing after receiving the vaccine. Recipients might still host the virus and spread it to someone else vulnerable to the illness.
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AstraZeneca’s studies have not yet been peer-reviewed, which is the gold standard for scientific studies. Still, they do encourage hope that a way has been found to get at not merely the disease (important at that is) but at the virus and its transmission, too.