Researchers getting close to finish line of COVID-19 vaccine in Triangle area

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Researchers are getting closer to the finish line in the race for a COVID-19 vaccine. Several companies in the Triangle are taking part in trials.

“It feels like an honor and also like everybody says, a duty and a responsibility to really ensure the safety for the participants, ensure the safety for the population and make sure that we get a vaccine that works,” said Dr. Judith Borger with Carolina Institute for Clinical Research. 

Borger is the principal investigator at Wake Research’s site in Fayetteville. They were slated to have 300 participants in their vaccine trial.

“We have done so well in the trial that we’ve now exceeded that number and we have currently enrolled 380 participants.”

Nationwide, Wake Research has more than 22,000 participants enrolled, including 167 in Raleigh.

They’re in phase three, which is focused on testing the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. It’s the last stage before the vaccine goes to market.

“It definitely can be considered a race in the sense that a lot of companies are actively looking for a vaccine,” said Borger. 

She said they’re not skipping any safety steps — just working longer days and hours. Both the Fayetteville and Raleigh sites are still accepting more volunteers. You get paid for your time and transportation.

They’re looking for all types of people, but especially those most affected by the virus due to underlying conditions or occupational exposure.

“Because we want to make sure the vaccine works for everybody,” said Borger.

Also in the Triangle, Heat Biologics in Morrisville and Duke Researchers in Durham are in the early stages of testing a COVID-19 vaccine.

Borger said Wake Research is on track to have one ready by the end of the year. However, that doesn’t mean the work will stop.

“I think this is going to be an ongoing effort for a little while because we want to have the best vaccine, we want to have the safest vaccine,” she said. 

For more information about volunteering opportunities, go here.

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