NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Next week, the first COVID-19 vaccine tested in the country is entering its final stage of testing.
And two North Texas research labs were selected to participate — Global Medical Research in Dallas and Benchmark Research in Fort Worth.
Both are actively looking for participants.
Ben Seger, the site director of Benchmark Research in Fort Worth, said when it came time for Moderna to select which labs would be participating in their third and final stage of testing for their COVID-19 vaccine, they were trying to identify hotspots where the coronavirus is more prevalent.
“It’s very exciting to know we’re going to be on the leading edge of some sort of preventative,” he said.
Last week, the New England Journal of Medicine published medical research that shows during Moderna’s first phase of testing — all 45 volunteers who received their vaccine produced an immune response – including antibody and some T-cell responses.
“It established that the vaccine is generating the immune response that you’re looking for,” said Benchmark Research Fort Worth Principal investigator, Dr. William Seger.
Also, researchers reported the vaccine appeared to show no serious safety concerns or adverse side effects. About half of the people who tested reported symptoms like fever or chills, but overall it seemed to be well tolerated.
“That was very exciting because the greatest majority of side effects seem to be associated with the injection itself,” Dr. Seger said.
Now, moving forward, testing will take place on a much bigger scale. There will be around 30,000 participants.
“Phase one and two are the small, healthy patient studies,” Dr. Seger said. “Generally speaking, by the time we get this far the safety has been established.”
“For these Phase III studies, they’re trying to identify essential workers and frontline workers .. so police officers firefighters, nurses, doctors, convenient store clerk, people who interact with the general populationson a day to day basis and are more at risk for contracting COVID,” Seger said.
Results are expected to be in by Thanksgiving and if everything goes right, the vaccine could possibly be available as early as late this year, early next year.
Here are the numbers to call if you want to participate: Fort Worth, 888-902-9605 and in Dallas 972-996-5645
Seger said every participant will get paid for the six visits. But he said they have yet to determine just how much though.