Study launched to determine efficacy of mRNA flu vaccine
HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - If you haven’t already received your flu vaccine, you might consider getting your shot through Clinical Research Partners in Henrico.
The medical clinic is partnering with the two major pharmaceutical companies specializing in mRNA vaccines, like the COVID-19 vaccine, to study the efficacy of an mRNA flu vaccine.
“Clinical Research Partners are going to trial an mRNA vaccine against the season flu viruses that we are predicting will become this coming season’s viruses,” said epidemiologist Bo Vaughan.
Vaughan is the medical director of Clinical Research Partners.
Traditionally, a flu vaccine works by giving patients a dormant version of the virus that their body will recognize and make antibodies.
The mRNA method teaches your cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response inside our bodies once injected.
Vaughan says mRNA vaccines have the potential to offer broader protection by responding to strain changes more quickly and can provide more robust immune responses in adults.
“mRNA vaccines are nothing new. It’s been trialed in oncology research,” Vaughan said. “What we’re trying to accomplish is harnessing the understanding of vaccines, particularly mRNA vaccines and trying to use what we’ve learned and use it for influenza effective way.”
According to the clinic, seasonal flu causes 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness worldwide and up to 650,000 deaths. The clinic adds that current seasonal influenza vaccines are usually only up to 60% effective.
Vaughan says this trial is exciting because it could pave the way for faster and more effective vaccines to fight against the flu.
“One of the biggest wins a vaccine has is really keeping people out of the hospital and keeping people from the severest forms of the disease,” Vaughan.
The nationwide study is in its third trial phase. Doctors all over the country are looking for about 23,000 patients to participate. In Virginia clinical research, partners are looking for anywhere between 500 and 1000 patients.
There’s also no placebo in this phase, so everyone participating in the year-long study will receive the mRNA flu vaccine.
This clinical trial is looking for adult participants. To join, you must be 18 years or older, able to follow participation instructions and not be pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant for at least 3 months following your vaccine visit (as appropriate).
Clinical Research Partners are the only center in Virginia working on mRNA flu studies. There is no way to receive this type of flu vaccine unless you take part in the study.
“Though you still might get a common cold or some type of very mild case of influenza or maybe COVID and mRNA vaccines have really proven that they’re going to decrease the rate of severe disease and death, and that’s fantastic as a clinician,” Vaughan said.
To learn more about the trial and how you can contact Clinical Research Partners at 804-920-1413.
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