Metro doctors say trial shows promise in search for COVID-19 vaccine

Tracking Coronavirus

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hundreds of area volunteers will soon be a part of the search for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Researchers at two metro hospitals announced the expansion of a trial that’s showing promise.

Scientists had to get creative with a key component but that could end up being the reason this vaccine is so successful.

“We believe that Kansas City, KU is really going to lead the country in terms of pushing this forward and get a solution for us,” said Dr. Mario Castro with the University of Kansas Medical Center.

To make that happen, researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center and Children’s Mercy Hospital say it’s time to move forward.

They are involved in a network based in Seattle that is now testing a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford and bought by Astrazeneca.

It’s already been tried on 1,000 people.

Castro said results published two weeks ago are promising.

“I think it’s going to be very exciting,” Castro said.

Dr. Barbara Pahud at Children’s Mercy explains there’s a key component in this vaccine that makes it unique from others being developed.

“This technology from Oxford is very smart,” Pahud said. “It uses what our body can recognize, but it’s a chimpanzee adenovirus vector that we’ve never seen before so we can build up immunity against it and that’s going to deliver the spike of the coronavirus that you’ve all see in those pictures.”

She describes it as using the cells from the chimpanzee to deliver the part of COVID-19 that will cause you to develop antibodies to the virus.

It’s a process that’s already been approved to fight other diseases like Ebola.

The next step is to expand the trial to 30,000 people with 1,200 of those enrolled through the University of Kansas Health System.

Researchers expect to eventually have two mobile clinics moving around the metro.

They will target populations that are at high risk, such as the elderly, African Americans and Hispanics.

Castro said the side effects of the trial are similar to those you might experience after getting the flu vaccine.

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