ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando Immunology Center has been chosen by the National Institutes of Health as one of 33 locations in the country to conduct the next round of trials for a coronavirus vaccine.
“We feel like we need to do this for our community,” Dr. Edwin DeJesus OIC’s Medical Director said.
He said his team has been selected to test a vaccine sponsored by Oxford University and Astra Zenica.
Results from the first phase of trials were released on Monday, and DeJesus said they showed a lot of promise.
"The vaccine is attacking the virus in two different ways. Not only by producing the antibodies, but also by activating the so-called killer T-cells that can destroy the virus immediately," he said.
The Florida Department of Health reported 10,347 new cases of coronavirus on Monday.
DeJesus said the rising numbers in the state fueled his quest to find a vaccine.
"When we suddenly in the last few weeks see these numbers going up, they put fire under us," he said. "We really need to get this."
He said some volunteers in the Orlando-based study will receive the experimental vaccine, while others will receive a placebo.
He said that could mean some in the study will still be exposed to possible infection.
He's looking to sign up as many people as possible with the help of the FDOH.
"We are in conversations with them to help them to recruit the number of people that they need for the trial itself," said Dr. Raul Pino, medical officer for FDOH in Orange County.
According to the first phase results, some people who participated reported experiencing side effects, such as fever and chills.
DeJesus said the trials will officially begin on Aug. 8, but OIC is actively recruiting volunteers now.
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“We feel very very comfortable that this is going to be a success,” DeJesus said. “If two out of three people are going to be protected from this, we will be doing something very very good for our local community -- much needed.”