Vanderbilt needs 1,000 volunteers for COVID-19 vaccine trial

Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Doctors at Vanderbilt University Medical Center hope to attract 1,000 local volunteers for a late-stage study of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine known as mRNA.

“Now we have enough data to be able to safely go into larger phase 3 trials that will evaluate some of these vaccines in upwards of 30,000 people,” said Dr. Buddy Creech, principal investigator of the COVID vaccine study at VUMC.

By the end of July, researchers will begin a randomized placebo-controlled trial that involves two shots given four weeks apart.

“The thought is the first dose gets you ready, and the second dose really delivers that punch that you need to make a very high immune response but also one that lasts for a while,” explained Dr. Creech.

To join the trial, you must be at least 18 years old without a history of having COVID-19.

“We want at least 25% of our group to be over 65 and have some of these medical problems that would set them up for more significant illness with COVID should they get it,” said Dr. Creech.

Researchers also hope to attract workers who are susceptible to contracting the virus.

“The music profession, TSA agents, Amazon warehouse workers, those who have to fly for business, those who are constantly exposed to coronavirus,” said Dr. Creech, “We’re really asking those to sign up because we really want to make sure we can protect those as best as we can.”

As this trial gets underway, doctors say we will hear about others scheduled to start soon.

“We’re already evaluating clinical trial designs for at least 2 other phase 3 studies of candidate COVID vaccines,” said Dr. Creech.

In the hope, that by the end of the year, there will be several promising vaccine candidates.

“So we can figure out which ones work, which ones are the best, and which one can stop this pandemic in its track,” said Dr. Creech.

If you would like more information about the trial, you’re asked to email covidvaccine@vumc.org.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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