Frequently Asked Questions

The Rapid Deployment Vaccine Collaborative. We are a group of citizen scientists who are concerned about the staggering costs of the current pandemic (and from possible future pandemics). The death toll is large and growing, but many more who survive the initial infection will suffer serious enduring complications. Our experience in the biomedical sciences allowed us to realize in the early stages of the pandemic that a commercial vaccine would not be widely available through the end of 2020, and during that time the cost in human lives and health would be staggering; therefore, we mobilized quickly to address this problem. We have used our knowledge and skills in biomedical research to develop SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, which we are testing on ourselves. We’ve published our approach in the white paper available for download on this website. We also aim to connect with other citizen scientists who wish to make and deploy the vaccine, to build on our approach, to advance the sharing of ideas, data, and best practices.
We perform research and development of vaccine formulations that meet 4 minimal criteria:
  • General designs are based on decades of published literature demonstrating safety and efficacy in animal models and human trials
  • Made from easily obtained and relatively inexpensive materials
  • Extremely easy to produce
  • Simple and painless to self-administer by nasal sprayer
Part of our R&D is to test the vaccines on ourselves. Before and after testing, we collect saliva, blood, and other samples for analysis to check for evidence of immune responses to the vaccine.
Our work relies on a network of citizen science groups. RaDVaC initially launched this work but there is no centralized control. We have made our work openly available without restriction (except attribution) under CC-BY 4.0 and OCL-P v1.1 licenses so that DIY vaccine efforts can spread as efficiently as possible to help people in need.
Anyone and everyone. We welcome review, participation, and collaboration from everyone, and we hope for this to be a decentralized, community-led scientific initiative. We will soon set up an online platform for collaboration.
The vaccine we have produced and used in ourselves is designed to be taken as an intranasal spray. Others might develop alternate approaches as they conduct their own investigations of the scientific literature.
We strongly believe in the principles of individual responsibility, informed consent, open sharing of research results, and minimizing harm. This ethical commitment has informed not only the design of our vaccine, but the design of our experiments. Accordingly, each member of our vaccine development team has made the informed choice to test the vaccine on themself, to generate data which will be used to determine the vaccine’s efficacy.
Nasal vaccines have been shown in previous studies to be generally very safe, but we cannot guarantee safety.

In our project, short-term safety has been demonstrated on a small scale (as of mid-July 2020, our cohort includes >20 researchers) in people ranging in age from 20s to 80s. The most serious side effect reported in the first few months of vaccine use is a noticeable temporary increase in sinus congestion in the hours after booster doses are administered.
Assessing a protective immune response is challenging, and assessing response to a vaccine is even more challenging than measuring the response to viral infection. Assessing effectiveness of nasal vaccines is often even more challenging than assessing injected vaccines. Our vaccine is delivered nasally, and thus is designed to elicit a mucosal immune response at the primary sites of virus entry into the body (nose and lungs). Our preliminary assays have shown positive indications, but require ongoing confirmation. The RaDVaC team is working toward accurately measuring the efficacy of the mucosal immune response, which will be made available on this website and through a white paper.
Unfortunately, this is a complex issue and there isn’t a simple answer. The most common measurement of immunity is an antibody test performed on blood. However, an intranasal vaccine is able to elicit immune responses of various kinds, and even though it might produce a robust and highly protective mucosal immune response, the blood antibody response might not be as pronounced.

There are two separate immune tissues or systems throughout the body: mucosal immunity and systemic immunity. And there are two separate types of immunity: humoral (B-cell and antibodies) and cellular (T-cells). Although antibody tests are the most common type of immune tests, T-cells are extremely important in controlling and clearing viral infections. Unfortunately, measuring T-cell immunity to a specific virus is much more difficult than measuring antibodies, and these tests are not commonly available. Each tissue or system and each type of immunity might produce immunity, in various combinations. For example, intranasal vaccination of a person might produce robust mucosal antibody and T-cell responses, and a robust systemic (blood) T-cell response, but minimal levels of antibodies in blood.
There is presently no way to purchase the vaccine fully assembled. All of the reagents, materials, and equipment are commercially available, separately. The RaDVaC approach is not a DIY approach - we do not sell ‘kits’ for people simply to mix the formulation themselves. This is a distributed research effort to produce low cost and broadly accessible vaccine R&D, for those who have, or have invested the time to acquire, the skills and knowledge to utilize our work as a starting point for their research.
RaDVaC is composed of citizen scientists undertaking only self-experimentation by self-administration. We are not a company, and we also believe that the urgency around COVID-19 calls for a different and open solution, in order to save as many lives as possible. The RaDVaC team welcomes any new ideas on approaches to measure safety and efficacy of the vaccine as it is being self administered.
All of the reagents, materials, and equipment we have used thus far are commercially available to purchase. We provide a list of our materials here.
As of now, the FDA has not approved any COVID-19 vaccine for release to the public. While numerous commercial vaccines are being tested in clinical trials, our proposed vaccine is for self-experimentation only at this point, since we believe there is a critical and unmet need for distributed vaccine R&D in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
No, RaDVaC is not anti-FDA or anti-regulation. On the contrary, we are grateful to the FDA for providing regulation and oversight of the production of safe therapeutics. As citizen scientists, we are filling a desperate need for vaccine R&D, production, and self-administration that are not subject to FDA regulation.
No. Many of us are biotech veterans and currently active in biotech companies. We strongly support the efforts of pharmaceutical and biotech companies to produce commercial vaccines. We also strongly believe in the need for scientific collaboration and open-source tools to address the COVID-19 pandemic, and we have chosen to deinstitutionalize our work in an effort to make these tools accessible to a larger community as efficiently as possible.
First, please familiarize yourself completely with the information on this website. Then, send us a message here. Please let us know how you would like to help, and any skills and knowledge you would like to contribute to the effort.