Operation Warp Speed seeking volunteers for COVID-19 vaccine trials in McAllen

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McAllen, Texas (KVEO)—Operation Warp Speed announced Friday they are now seeking volunteers for COVID-19 vaccine trials in Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Forth Worth and McAllen.

“The volunteers are the real heroes of this pandemic,” said Dr. Matt Hepburn, the vaccine development lead for Operation Warp Speed.

Operation Warp Speed is considering a total of six vaccine candidates and will continue to rely on clinical trial volunteers for the remaining candidates.

“The goal is safe and effective vaccines. It’s not cutting corners. The process we are talking about is the standard process set by the FDA,” said Hepburn, an infectious disease physician with the DOD.

Hepburn says the clinical trial process begins with Phase 1 early safety studies. Phase 2 looks for an immune response. Phase 3 is a larger study to see if the vaccine is effective while continuing to learn about safety along the way.

Where a typical Phase 3 trial may involve 3,000 people, the COVID-19 trials each have 30,000 or more participants, says Hepburn.

The randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled studies mean most people involved won’t know who receives a vaccine candidate or a placebo injection, which would provide no protection from the virus.

The difference will be determined by the number of people who get COVID-19.

For information on vaccine trials, click here.

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