HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Hattiesburg Clinic announced Tuesday that it will be one of 89 locations across the country participating in the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine research trial.
Dr. Rambod Rouhbakhsh will lead the clinical trials at Hattiesburg Clinic testing the mRNA-1273 vaccine.
“This is the Moderna vaccine you have heard so much about in the news,” Rouhbakhsh said. “It’s a novel messenger RNA vaccine that’s designed to be not only efficacious, with lower side effects, but to be able to be ramped up very, very quickly so that we can get many billions of doses out in the world if this winds up being an efficacious treatment.”
Across the county, the trial will include about 30,000. Here in Hattiesburg, Rouhbakhsh expects the clinic to enroll between 300 and 500 people during the next six weeks.
“There are specific inclusion and exclusion criteria, so we are going to rely on our doctors to help refer patients in,” Rouhbakhsh said. “Moreover, this study is focusing on the critically needed vaccine recipients, so we are preferentially looking at those that are high risk.”
Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and cannot currently have the virus. Rouhbakhsh said this is a double-blind trial.
“The participants and the investigators, we won’t know if the study participants are getting the actual investigational medication or the medication or the placebo,” Rouhbakhsh said.
And for that reason, participants will be asked to continue social distancing and wearing a mask to be as safe as possible.
According to the National Institutes of Health within the U.S. Department of Health and Safety, participants will get two shots, each 28 days apart.
Investigators with stay in contact with participants to monitor their symptoms.
“We’re very pleased to be involved in the latest phase three trial, which means our community will have access to this as early as any other community in the world,” Rouhbakhsh said.
Moderna and an institutional review board will monitor the data from the trial as it comes in.