Coronavirus vaccine trial making progress in the Hostess City


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The race continues for a COVID-19 vaccine here in the Hostess City. Meridian Clinical Research is still conducting its experimental COVID-19 vaccine trials.

Dr. Paul Bradley tells News 3 the vaccine study has been going well at the site in Savannah so far. There haven’t been any serious side effects that would cause them to pause the study. The goal is to have a cure by the end of the year but scientists say they still don’t have an exact date.

The push to finding a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine is still ongoing.

“What we are waiting to see is are the people that got the real vaccine not getting COVID and are the people who got the placebo, unfortunately, getting COVID,” Bradley said.

He said there is still so much of the virus circulating through the community and they are still seeing participants within the study being infected with COVID-19. Since some participants were given a placebo and others an experimental vaccine researchers are going into this process blind.

“That’s why it’s a bonafide clinical trial,” Bradley said.

There has been a setback in the race for a vaccine.

COVID-19 clinical trials from Johnson & Johnson and Eli Lilly hit a snag this week after safety monitors paused the studies over bad reactions from participants. Last month, AstraZeneca’s vaccine trials also paused after a volunteer became ill.

Americans are not getting a clear answer when a vaccine will be ready. President Donald Trump believes it will be very soon.

“When I say quickly, we’re looking to get it by the end of the year, if we can,” Trump said.

Doctors here locally are sharing that same optimism.

“I’m the internal optimist. I’m hoping right there with them. The reality is it’s not what somebody wants, we all want it to happen quickly. It’s going to be when the numbers tell us what we’re looking for,” Bradley said.

He added that it’s important to note with some of these clinical trials pausing it doesn’t mean that something is wrong it just means they are being very cautious.

Volunteers are still needed in Savannah. The study is looking for minorities and individuals who are at high risk of catching the virus. You can sign up here.

Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan and Deputy Surgeon General Erica G. Schwartz of the Department of Health and Human Services will visit Meridian Clinical Research Friday with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp for a tour of their facility, followed by a roundtable discussion with Meridian leadership and staff.

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