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Kansas medical research center to start testing coronavirus vaccine

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Kansas medical research center will soon start testing a coronavirus vaccine.

In the last 30 years, Heartland Research Associates have conducted more than 300 major vaccine studies and now they are adding coronavirus vaccine testing to that list thanks to pharmaceutical companies selecting them for the task.

“The companies have been working on some molecular proteins that they think will effect and be effective in the vaccine. It’s just our job is to test it on a number of people,” said Dr. Terry Poling, President Heartland Research Associates.

Dr. Poling said several of their Wichita area locations will take part in the trial. The study will require testing of thousands of people to determine there are no side effects and then gain approval to start distributing it for public use. Dr. Terry Poling says it typically takes about two years to get a vaccine to that point, but with the urgency to slow the spread of COVID-19, he said it may come sooner.

“We understand that the FDA is getting rid of a lot of their barriers that they ordinarily put up. In this situation, they want to get it done as quickly as possible. We think that it will be done, we think that they will fast track all of these studies, and we think they’ll probably be ready within eight to 15 months,” said Dr. Poling.

Dr. Poling has tested vaccines for other major outbreaks like H1N1 and Ebola but said there’s a lot more pressure to get it done with the coronavirus.

“The Ebola had us pretty nervous but the Ebola never did reach the contagion that this agent has. You know H1N1 there was an urgency but there wasn’t the full scale panic that we’ve got now,” said Dr. Poling.

They are ready to start the studies but said they are waiting for the companies to release the protocols.

“We’re just anxious to get started. We’d like to start today if we could,” said Dr. Poling.

Dr. Poling said they expect to start on the vaccine study in about four weeks. Heartland Research is also working on a rapid coronavirus test to speed up the time it takes to get a result. They are looking for volunteers to participate in these clinical trials. If you want to learn more information on how to sign up click here.

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