North Alabama will play a role in developing a potential coronavirus vaccine.
Two local research groups were among 150 selected across the nation to participate in phase 3 testing of a Pfizer vaccine under development.
“I think people are ready to get back to normal and know that this is probably one of the ways -- most important ways -- probably, that we’re going to be able to get back to normal,” Tonya Pryor, director of research at the North Alabama Research Center, said.
Pryor said her group is in the process of finalizing its contact with Pfizer for this trial -- estimating that enrollment could begin in early August. She said Medical Affiliated Research in Huntsville will also be conducting trials with Pfizer's vaccine.
“It is an injection in your deltoid, which we’ve done before with that particular company,” she said. “So easy peasy, just like any other shot.”
The volunteers that take part in the trial will likely receive two injections over the course of six visits spanning several months.
According to Pryor, participants will also be followed for up to 26 months to make sure they don't experience any adverse reactions to the vaccine.
Between the two cities, the goal is to have 600 patients total.
In order to participate in the study, you have to meet a few criteria: No cancer in the last five years, no previous diagnosis of COVID-19, no autoimmune disorders or unmanaged pre-existing conditions, and you have to be younger than 65.
It's a group she says will be considered “medical heroes.”
“That will change the lives of so many people if we can get a few here, a few in Huntsville and then the other 150 sites will get those few, we can just, I feel, make a big difference in what’s going on in the world today with covid.”