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Vaccine offers new light at end of the tunnel, but ‘hang on to your masks,’ local scientist says

 Scientist of the Year by ARCS San Diego

SAN DIEGO – As a U.S. government advisory panel endorsed the Pfizer vaccination Thursday for widespread use in the fight against COVID-19, some of the world’s top scientists are taking a brief moment to look to the future.



Dr. Erica Ollmann Saphire, a professor at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, talks to FOX 5 reporter Jaime Chambers on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. On Thursday, Saphire was named Scientist of the Year by ARCS San Diego.


“It’s hope — there’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Dr. Erica Ollmann Saphire, a professor at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology. “We are going to get out of this. But hang on to your masks. It’s going to be a while, right? There are 3 million doses available now and there are 320 million Americans. It’s going to take some time.


“It’s going to take a couple of months for there to be enough to broadly protect everybody.”


On Thursday, Saphire was named Scientist of the Year by ARCS San Diego, a chapter of the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation.


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“I have been watching Dr. Saphire via the La Jolla Institute for Immunology webinars recently as she provides global leadership in understanding host-virus interactions, which will be key to responding to COVID-19 today and for future pandemics,” ARCS San Diego President Holly Heaton said in a news release. “She is a remarkable scientist and leader.”


Her work is credited by ARCS San Diego for illuminating ways to address the world’s infectious diseases ranging from HIV to Ebola to SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.


“We have looked a the array of antibodies and imaged them, and actually visualized those particles on a molecular level to figure out what the target is on that virus, where that virus is vulnerable and where we can go in for the attack,” Saphire said.


The La Jolla Institute for Immunology has been sharing its research with all pharmaceutical companies at no cost to help speed up the development of a vaccine. With much of the red tape tripped, Saphire said promising vaccines will roll out in record time.



In the interim, she’s working on antibody therapies to treat COVID-19 patients right now.


But after working 12-hour days, seven days a week since February, Saphire says when the pandemic wraps up, “I’m going to go see my mom and dad.”

Source:https://fox5sandiego.com/news/coronavirus/vaccine-offers-new-light-at-end-of-the-tunnel-but-hang-on-to-your-masks-local-scientist-says/

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