PA COVID-19 death toll rises to 90; Pitt researchers report vaccine progress

Allegheny County reported its largest increase of new cases Thursday, for a total of 419.


Pennsylvania’s Department of Health announced 1,211 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, bringing the state total of confirmed cases to 7,016. The latest number represents an increase of approximately 21% from Wednesday. Sixteen new deaths were reported, bringing the statewide total to 90.

Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh report promising results in a potential vaccine to fight COVID-19, according to a study published Thursday in EBioMedicine, a peer-reviewed journal published by the Lancet.

The scientists are working with the Food and Drug Administration to try to start a human trial but could not give a timeline for how long it would take for any possible approval, describing the  process as “iterative.” The scientists said at a Thursday press conference that national estimates of 12 to 18 months for the process was broadly true but that they were hoping to speed up the regulatory process from months to weeks.

When tested on mice, the potential new vaccine produced antibodies that the scientists believe could be sufficient to neutralize the virus. This is the first vaccine study that has been published and peer reviewed, according to a University of Pittsburgh Press release. There are many scientists across the globe trying to find a vaccine, and any approval depends on successful trials focused on safety and effectiveness.

The scientists started developing the vaccine, which is administered as a patch, on Jan. 21 when the DNA sequence for the virus became available. They reported developing the vaccine in seven days before starting testing on mice.


People carry their takeout food beneath the windows of the Smith Brothers Agency in the North Shore. The windows read “Yinz Got This, #Together Apart”. (Photo by Kimberly Rowen/PublicSource)

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PA COVID-19 death toll rises to 90; Pitt researchers report vaccine progress

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