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New coronavirus vaccine trials starting in New Orleans, volunteers needed

“I think it's just important that we move this forward as quickly as we can, so that we can get back to kind of life as, as close to life as we know it."

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans is now a test site for one of the largest, worldwide studies for a coronavirus vaccine and you have a chance to join that study. 

It's a free study for adults older than 18, even if you have other conditions like diabetes, and even if you have already gotten over COVID-19.

Erica Woodley made a decision. She'll join a study for a coronavirus vaccine.

“I think it's like the greater good, like the collective good. We all have kind of, like I said, a role to play,” said Erica Woodley, Dean of Students at Tulane University. 

Woodley says she sees the students’ protective actions to stay healthy during the pandemic, but says a vaccine is the way forward. She'll sign up for one of the biggest, worldwide vaccine clinical trials, the Johnson and Johnson Phase III trial. It opens in the near future at several local sites, including Tulane University School of Medicine, but right now, Clinical Trials Management in Metairie, on Houma Boulevard, is the first to have the vaccine. 

“And they did choose New Orleans to be a center, because this pandemic, this virus has hit our communities very hard and they feel that we can get a diverse group of people to participate in this trial that will help show if this is effective, across all people, all races, all colors, which is, which is when you know something works,” explained Dr. Amy Himel, a Board-certified Internal Medicine Physician who is one of the investigators for this trial at Clinical Trials Management.

RELATED: How can I volunteer for a COVID-19 vaccine study?

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Already, around 150 people have joined. She says in preliminary studies, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is showing it's safe and effective with just one dose, and adds, people should not be concerned with how fast clinical trials are moving. 

“This vaccine technology, the way that this vaccine was formulated, has been used in other vaccines,” Dr. Himel said. 

The vaccine will not give you coronavirus. This technology produces a protein, which should stimulate your immune system to get rid of the coronavirus. 

“The sooner we get these people enrolled, and we can start following this and how they respond,the sooner we'll have, we'll have real data to send in and be evaluated,” Dr. Himel said.

“I think it's just important that we move this forward as quickly as we can, so that we can get back to kind of life as, as close to life as we know it,” Woodley said. 

Half of the people who sign up will get the real vaccine. Everyone in the study will be compensated and medically checked for the next two years.

For more on the worldwide study and to see if you qualify, click here.

Open now: 

Clinical Trials Management, LLC

3801 Houma Blvd. Metairie, La. 70006

Metairie, Louisiana, United States, 70006 

504-455-1310

Or 7043 190 East Service Rd. Suite C

Covington, La. 70433

985-900-2400

http://www.clinicaltrialsmgt.com/

---------------------------------------------

Opening soon: 

2. Tulane University School of Medicine:

Phone number: 504-988-0200

Website: Vaccine.tulane.edu

Email: vaccine@tulane.edu

Recruitment sites:

Tulane University School of Medicine downtown

Tulane University uptown

New Orleans East Hospital

West Jefferson Medical Center

3. Ochsner Clinic Foundation:

Are we participating? This study will be open for a minimum of eight weeks and involves five sites across the Ochsner system, beginning with Ochsner Medical Center- Kenner and then across multiple locations across the state. Led by principal investigator Dr. Julia Garcia-Diaz, the Janssen study will enroll a limited number of random participants from across Louisiana, including those who have shown previous interest in COVID-19 research.

  • When will we recruit? Recruitment will begin in mid-October, starting at our Ochsner Kenner campus first.
  • When will we start administering the vaccine? All participants accepted into the study will be randomized to receive either the vaccine or placebo. All participants will receive one shot – 50% will receive the vaccine and 50% will receive a placebo. As it is a double blinded study, neither the patients nor the investigators will know what they have received. Recruitment and enrollment of the study will begin in mid-October.
  • How many are we enrolling? This Phase 3 study is an event driven trial that will continue enrollment on a rolling basis, enrolling up to 60,000 participants at 215 clinical investigational sites around the world.
  • How can people sign up? If you or someone you know are interested in participating in COVID-19 research opportunities, please email COVIDVaccine@ochsner.org.

4. Benchmark Research

5. Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care Center New Orleans

Who Can Take Part?

  • Those 18 years of age or older
  • Those who are in good or stable health (you may have underlying medical conditions if your symptoms and signs are stable and well-controlled)
  • Those have not previously received a vaccine for COVID-19.

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