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Wichita researchers seek 2,000 candidates for COVID-19 vaccine study

KSN Digital Extra

FILE

WICHITA, Kan, (KSNW) – A Wichita based research clinic is moving into the third phase of COVID-19 vaccine testing. Officials at Alliance For Multispecialty Research, formally known as Heartland Research, are looking for around 2,000 candidates to test an investigational vaccine for the Novel Coronavirus.

“This is really a large scale process. It’s a fast process. But the controls that we have for the safety of the individual are still intact,” Dr. Terry Klein, a principal investigator in the study, told KSN. “We’re basically looking for healthy individuals that are wanting the vaccine.”

Jeremy Bennett, a married father of two, applied and was accepted for the AMR investigational vaccine trial. Bennett says conversations online got his attention first.

“I saw people discussing it on Facebook, and I was curious,” Bennett said. “So I went to their website and signed up. About three hours later, I got a call telling me that I qualified for it, and they would get ahold of me soon to come in for my first appointment.”

After a candidate’s application has been accepted, candidates report to one of the local AMR locations to read accompanying literature, schedule future check-up visits, and submit to bloodwork that shows the current state of antibodies present in a subject.

Following that, a vaccine or a placebo, is injected into the subject. Those accepted to the randomized trial are asked to closely monitor and record the site of injection, and their overall health for the next two years.

Bennett signed up because he, like many, wants to help the world he lives in “get back to a reasonable sense of normalcy.”

“I want this to be over with. The sooner we get a vaccine, the sooner people can go back to their lives. And if I can help do that, that’d be great. And on the selfish end, it also would be nice to have some extra money.”

However, Bennett wasn’t totally without reservation.

“At first I was like, ‘What are they going to inject me with? What’s going to happen,'” he pondered. “Then, after talking to them, you know it’s gonna be a normal vaccine where they give you the dead virus or give you a non-active virus that will make you sick, and your body creates antibodies.”

“If you can get the antibodies, you can make a determination whether you had the effect that you want to have. The scientific process doesn’t require us to expose someone to a live germ to make sure that they’re protected,” Dr. Klein told KSN. “That is not a part of research, and not certainly not a part of vaccine development. The desire is to make people safe.”

Klein said that if the trials are successful and a vaccine proves efficacy in the production of antibodies in study subjects, then the compound is advanced to approval by the FDA.

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