Lowcountry site will test COVID vaccine in clinical trials

Updated: Jul. 26, 2020 at 3:50 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - With COVID rates rising, some health experts say the need for a vaccine is at an all-time high. One Lowcountry clinical site will be part of the next phase of research for a coronavirus vaccine that has shown early promising results.

The Clinical Trials of South Carolina will be kicking off the third round of research for a vaccine, starting in August. The site has been selected as one of the few groups in the Southeast to conduct the trial.

Dr. Matthew Drakeley is a pain management physician at Pain Specialists of Charleston, which is associated with the Clinical Trials of South Carolina. He says the goal of the trial is to look at the efficacy of the vaccine.

"This is called a vector vaccine so it's actually a different virus that is not the coronavirus that shares similar properties, " Dr. Drakeley said. "Specifically it has similar "S" protein on the outside of the virus so when it is given to the cells in the human body, they can start recognizing and treating and building up immunity. That way, when it is faced against the coronavirus it will be able to fight off the virus effectively."

This study is enrolling 30 thousand people across the United States. At this location, research experts at Clinical Trials of South Carolina are hoping to enroll about 1,500 people over the course of 8 weeks.

A patient will receive a vaccine on day 1 and day 28. After that, employees will monitor for symptoms to see if the patient has any signs that they may have been infected with the coronavirus.

"It is open to anyone who is at least 18 years old and who has never had the coronavirus before," said Whitney Billingsley, a recruitment and program Coordinator at Clinical Trials of SC. "But we are really hoping that hospital staff as well as our first response team and essential workers will come out to participate."

For more information about the COVID vaccine trial or how to get involved, click here or call 843-789-3707.

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