Institute seeks Hawaii participants for COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial

Institute seeks Hawaii participants for COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii residents are being sought for a clinical trial to determine if a potential COVID-19 vaccine is safe.

The East-West Medical Research Institute is one of more than 120 facilities around the world selected for the study aimed at developing a vaccine by the end of the year.

“I’ve been on 4 a.m. teleconferences with the people who are leading this effort because they are in Europe,” said Dr. David Fitz-Patrick, head of the institute and lead researcher for the trial.

“We are on the phone every day talking to people about fine-tuning how we do the study. It’s unprecedented how fast this has gone.”

The vaccine trial is seeking 30,000 participants worldwide, including 300 from Hawaii. Participants must be between 18 and 85.

Fitz-Patrick feels the state’s diversity will be instrumental in providing comprehensive data.

“Many studies are done in white Caucasian males and drugs and vaccines can work differently in people of different sexes and ethnicities,” Fitz-Patrick said.

“It’s very important that all the ethnic backgrounds that we have in Hawaii can participate in this and we can show that it works for all of our population.”

Half of the participants will receive the vaccine, while the other half are given a placebo.

The hope is to have significant results from human trials by the end of the year.

And so far, the research has been promising.

“With this particular vaccine, we already know that it induces actually two-and-a-half times the number of antibodies than people who actually get COVID-19 have,” Fitz-Patrick said.

“So we are very hopeful this is going to be a very effective vaccine.”

The East-West Medical Research Institute is independent and this trial is not tied to vaccine research at the University of Hawaii. For more information on the trial, click here.

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.