SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Experimental COVID-19 vaccine trials are being put to the test around the country. Right here in the Hostess City participants are helping to stop the global spread of the pandemic. Phase three of the vaccine trials started early this week.
Meridian Clinical Research is seeking people to participate in the trial. Dr. Paul Bradley said this is the most exciting research he’s done in his 30 years.
“This one medication will literally change the world as we know it because otherwise we’re masked forever,” Dr. Paul Bradley with the Meridian Clinical Research team said.
Clinical trials usually run in three phases that last up to five years but in the middle of this pandemic, researchers are working hard to get there faster. Savannah health officials met with Dr. Moncef Slaoui of the White House’s Task Force: Operation Warp Speed Thursday. They’re working to deliver 300 million doses of the vaccine by January.
“His feeling is that the current vaccine might be as much as 90 percent effective and if that’s true that would knock the ball out of the park,” Dr. Bradley said.
Right now the trial is running smoothly according to Dr. Bradley. Heading into phase three he said researchers are looking for 30,000 participants who may be at higher risk for catching the virus. It’s a two-shot series one month apart.
“Everyone at this point has seen the COVID virus. It looks like a big ball and it’s got little spikes around it. So Moderna’s vaccine makes something called messenger RNA which is not part of the virus but it’s a little piece of protein that when given to our body causes us to create an antibody against those little spikes that you see on the virus,” Dr. Bradley told News 3.
These antibodies would prevent anyone from getting the virus. Dr. Bradley said there’s no live virus in these trials so no one will become infected.
“We’re hoping that the resistance that the vaccine gives you will last at least maybe a year and it may be like the flu shot where you have to have another one,” Dr. Bradley said.
During this trial, some will get the vaccine, and others will get a placebo. Researchers will then watch the participants over two years. Health officials are hoping for a vaccine by the end of this year or early 2021.