Patients in clinical trials are usually faceless. But as the experimental Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Moderna Therapeutics has begun advancing through studies, it has found a much more visible advocate: trial volunteer Ian Haydon, a 29-year-old in Seattle.
Haydon has spoken about the vaccine on CNN and CNBC. He even said he’d volunteer to be exposed to the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, if researchers want to test to see if the vaccine was actually effective. But up until now he has left out a key detail: He is, apparently, one of three people in the trial who had a systemic adverse reaction to the vaccine.
Twelve hours after receiving his second dose, he developed a fever of more than 103 degrees, sought medical attention, and, after being released from an urgent care facility, fainted in his home. He recovered within a day.
But he decided to speak now because he hopes his story counterbalances the desperation that some people feel to push a vaccine to market regardless of the consequences. Haydon points out that the whole purpose of the study he was in, known as a Phase 1 clinical trial, is to find the right dose of the vaccine going forward. That means to find a dose that causes the body to produce antibodies, but does not result in too many side effects.
“As we rush to get a vaccine developed as quickly as possible, the reality of vaccine development is that it can only be rushed so much and the trial still needs to take place,” Haydon said. “They have to move at the speed they move at. And stories like what happened to me, they matter because they shape the approval process.”