First COVID-19 vaccine trial at Ga. hospital almost complete
COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - We could be less than a year away from seeing a vaccine be available to the masses to prevent the coronavirus, and one research facility in Columbus is adding to that effort by developing the medical research needed.
The public seems split on if they would or would not take the vaccine not knowing what it is.
“No, I would not take the vaccine because I don’t feel comfortable that it is still being studied,” Nakia Joiner said.
“You have to go ahead and do the thing that might help you,” said Josephine Perdue. “So, maybe you will have a bad effect but it’s better than the alternative.”
At IACT Health in Columbus, researchers are currently studying a trial vaccine that could potentially prevent someone from ever catching the virus.
Patients who participate in the clinical trials could be randomized to varying doses of the drug medical professionals are studying. They could also be given a placebo drug, a drug that is non-active. That factor could be completely dependent on a patient’s race, age, or even genetic makeup, according to Dr. Jeff Kingsley, MD and CEO if IACT Health.
“At no time are patients exposed to COVID,” Kingsley said. “We don’t vaccinate people and then give them the disease. We are just trying to prove that we can build an antibody response.”
The trial has already been in the works for a month and is nearly full. 20,000 patients out of the required 30,000 have already signed up to participate in this groundbreaking medical research.
Kingsley said there are plans for more trials.
“This trial will finish enrolling in another month or so, and then we will start up another one right after. Even if you have a vaccine that works, it doesn’t stop the research process because there could be another vaccine that works much better, but is still being studied,” Kingsley said.
Clint Irvin got his last dose of the potential vaccine Tuesday and shared his thoughts on how the trial has been going so far for him.
“It’s very straight forward. They basically give you a list of what the side effects could be and the risks, and generally what to expect if you are apart of it. And then you come into the facility and they explain what they are doing and then you go through the procedures,” Irvin said.
Irvin, along with all the other vaccine trial participants, will be monitored by the medical staff at IACT for the next two years to see how the drug reacts in their bodies.
“It seemed interesting and exciting to be apart of something that could help the community,” Irvin said. “It’s really the only opportunity we have to make progress on getting back to normal.”
According to Kingsley, a vaccine could be authorized within a year by the FDA. Something called the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) allows the FDA to allow unapproved medical products to be used in an emergency situation, such as a pandemic, to diagnose, treat, or prevent serious or life-threatening diseases.
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