Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal
A clinical research company with an Albuquerque site will house the first COVID-19 vaccine study to recruit research volunteers in New Mexico, a company spokeswoman said.
Louisiana-based MedPharmics LLC, which has operated a site in Albuquerque for two years, has been selected to participate in a global study on a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.
“We’re very, very happy to have this partnership together,” MedPharmics director of business operations Elizabeth Farlie told the Journal in an interview Friday afternoon.
The company is currently seeking volunteers for the two-year Phase 3 study, which is the last phase the drugs are submitted to before seeking final approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Adults 18 years of age or older who are in good health or medically stable are welcome to participate. Applicants will be excluded if they have had a previous COVID-19 infection, if they are taking drugs that may affect the immune system (such as chronic use of corticosteroids), or if they have a history of severe reaction to one. vaccine, a press release from the company said.
During the two-year trial, volunteers will undergo seven routine visits and two telephone interviews. The vaccine is given as two injections one month apart, and participants’ blood will be drawn for testing at each routine visit, the statement said.
Trial participants will also be seen and assessed if they develop symptoms of COVID-19.
Any woman of childbearing age must agree to use a “very effective” contraceptive method for 28 days before the first injection and for 60 days after the second injection, the statement said.
Volunteers have a two in three chance of receiving the study vaccine and a one in three chance of receiving a placebo treatment. Participants will be compensated for time and travel.
Although the study period is long, Farlie said the most intensive part for the volunteers will be during the first one to two months.
The company aims to hire 340 research volunteers in New Mexico, although Farlie said the company is looking for about 30,000 participants across the country. MedPharmics is headquartered in Metairie, Louisiana, and has locations in a number of other states, including Arizona.
The company learned it obtained the study last week and is currently planning interviews with its lead researcher, Dr Quito Osuna Carr. With the company just starting to solicit volunteers, Farlie said the public response has already been overwhelming.
“The phone has been ringing all the time,” she said. “… I haven’t met a person yet who isn’t interested, and they don’t even care about the money. That’s how strong people feel about it.
Farlie said the company will finalize its patient pay structure next week.
Farlie said MedPharmics was ordered to expect to start recruiting patients the week of August 17. For now, anyone interested in the study can contact the company at 505-243-1627.
Farlie said the lawsuit is heavily regulated.
“It’s not something that is rushed into the market,” she said.
A number of other companies around the world – including Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson – are in various stages of testing their own COVID-19 vaccines.