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Dallas medical company seeks volunteers for COVID-19 vaccine trials

Dallas medical company seeks volunteers for COVID-19 vaccine trials

Coronavirus COVID-19
How much longer will we need to use this virus photo? Not long, maybe. Andriy Onufriyenko/Getty Images

Prism Health North Texas, a Dallas nonprofit HIV/AIDS service organization, is seeking volunteers to participate in trials for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Voluneers will be compensated for their time and receive a stipend for each visit they complete.

The trials are on the AstraZeneca Oxford coronavirus vaccine, AZD1222, which has already been the subject of an interim analysis in the UK and Brazil which a release says indicates the vaccine was "highly effective" in preventing COVID-19.

But according to Courthouse News, questions have surfaced about the vaccine after AstraZeneca and Oxford University acknowledged a "manufacturing error," in which some participants received uneven doses.

"In a surprise, the group of volunteers that got a lower dose seemed to be much better protected than the volunteers who got two full doses," Courthouse News says. The way the results were arrived at, and the way the results were reported by the companies, has led to what CourtHhouse News calls "pointed questions" from experts.

Nonetheless, they are now returning with a trial comprising 30,000 participants, including 250 participants in the Dallas Fort Worth area.

They're seeking participants 18 years and older, and especially in groups more likely to be exposed to COVID-19: people with underlying medical conditions, with greater risk of exposure at their jobs, who live or work in elder-care facilities, jails, or prisons, who are over 65, or are in racial and ethnic groups hit harder by the epidemic such as African Americans, Latinx, and Native Americans.

Visits will be held at the Oak Cliff Health Center at 219 Sunset Ave., #116 and in a new satellite office in east Dallas at 4004 Worth St.

If you want to volunteer, visit phntx.org/services/clinical-research and complete the contact form or email the Research Department at research@phntx.org.

Results are anticipated later this year, depending on the rate of infection within the communities where the clinical trials are being conducted.

AZD1222 was first tested on chimpanzees, who were given a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) that caused infections in chimpanzees and contains the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein. After vaccination, the surface spike protein is produced, priming the immune system to attach the SARS-CoV-2 virus if it later infects the body.

There's a Big Pharma race underway to get a vaccine out first. According to the CDC, as of November 24, large-scale (Phase 3) clinical trials are in progress or being planned for five COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S.:

  •     AstraZeneca
  •     Janssen
  •     Moderna
  •     Novavax
  •     Pfizer

Pfizer was first to apply to the FDA for authorization on its vaccine on November 20; Moderna is second, applying on November 30.