Knoxville research clinic launches second human trial for COVID-19 vaccine

A Knoxville research clinic has launched a second human clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine in a matter of days.

Volunteer Research Group began injecting its first volunteers with a coronavirus vaccine developed by the pharmaceutical company, Pfizer on Thursday.

Researchers are looking for more people to take part in the study. Thirty thousand people are needed worldwide. Half of them will get the drug, the other half will get a placebo.

Dr. William Smith said the side effects of the Pfizer vaccine are the same as other COVID-19 vaccines now in human trials.

He said they include a sore arm at the injection site and fever.

“Generally, the fevers are gone within 24 hours and they respond with acetaminophen," Smith said.

Smith said after patients receive the vaccine, clinicians will monitor them for side effects and antibody levels.

The Pfizer drug is among a handful of vaccines in the late stages of testing. They are part of the Trump administration’s “Operation Warp Speed."

Volunteer Research Group started its first human trial Monday for a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson.

Smith said, while the development and testing process has been rapid, safety is still the number one priority.

“You're not going to be injected with the coronavirus.  You cannot get the coronavirus from these vaccines," he said.

Smith and other experts are hopeful many of the vaccines in clinical trials will prove effective and be available by the end of this year or early next year.

“It’s going to take several vaccines to get the population of the world vaccinated to actually put an end to this pandemic," he said.

Volunteer Research Group is looking for more people to take part in the studies. Volunteers will be compensated. For more information, call 865-305-DRUG (3784).

Source: WBIR, by Robin Wilhoit

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Published July 31, 2020