Alumni Voices: Pentagon Project Turns into Hunt for COVID-19 Vaccine

James Crowe in a lab

James Crowe ’83 leads a team of researchers who are pursuing a COVID-19 vaccine that harnesses the power of the human immune system.


504 Gateway Time-out

“We did the antibody discovery sprint for real this year,” said Crowe, from Davidson’s class of 1983.

Crowe and his team harvest antibodies from survivors in order to save lives.

That may sound a little ghoulish or perplexing, but, first, a quick rundown of the three basic ways to make vaccines:

  • Using inactivated, or “killed,” virus, such as some vaccines given to babies that last years or a lifetime.
  • Using an anti-viral chemical drug that can offer prevention or treatment for a few days.