Director of NIH speaks to News 2 about vaccine trial progress


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health said he’s ready for answers. “We all want to find out how to put this COVID-19 virus, this bad guy, in the rear-view mirror.”

The NIH has started the mRNA-1273 vaccine trial in 89 clinical research sites in the US located in emerging hot zones.

“We know this virus is out there in Nashville,” said Dr. Collins, “It’s a place where we want to test it and see if it works.”

The phase 3 trial will take place at Vanderbilt and the following volunteers are needed:
Those over the age of 18 with frequent close contact with others who may be infected like health care, factory, and retail employees.

People over the age of 65 with or without risks.

And those younger than 65 with at least one risk factor such as chronic lung disease, asthma, cardiac disease, severe obesity, diabetes, or liver disease.

“It’s one dose on day one and another does on day 28 a two-dose vaccine,” Collins explained, “Then you get watched for 2 to 3 months to see what happens.”

“What would you say to those who are concerned that in an effort to prove efficacy quickly, you’re compromising safety?” asked News 2 Anchor, Alex Denis.

“Thanks for that question, Alex,” responded Dr. Collins, “O think people are concerned. This government effort is called Operation Warp Speed which is supposed to indicate how rapidly we’re trying to move, but I think it makes people worried a little bit. Like, wait a minute, are you cutting corners here?”

Dr. Collins continued by explaining the process.

“The part we’re doing that’s rapid is to deal with some of the bureaucratic delays which often take vaccines years to develop and none of those are being allowed. But the actual conduct of the trial, and the assessment of the results, will be as rigorous as it’s ever been and the FDA will not approve any vaccine that doesn’t measure up to the highest standard of being safe and effective,” Collins said.

If you would like to take part in a vaccine trial, click here.

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