Hattiesburg Clinic official talks timeline and more for vaccine trial

Hattiesburg Clinic official talks timeline and more for vaccine trial
Officials from the Hattiesburg Clinic discuss the timeline and more for a COVID-19 vaccine trial. (Source: WDAM)

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg Clinic is participating in a COVID-19 vaccine trial.

Of the 89 centers participating, mostly academic institutions were chosen to participate in the vaccine trial.

Dr. Rambod Rouhbakhsh with the Hattiesburg Clinic explained how the clinic joined the rank, saying the advancement of the clinic is what helped it receive the spot.

“The reason why we were able to be chosen is because of the level of sophistication of this medical community,” said Rouhbakhsh. “So, we have over 300 doctors. We service, you know, upwards of 100,000 people. We have a completely integrated electronic medical records system which allows us to identify patients very quickly.”

As they gear up for the trial, Dr. Rouhbakhsh hopes to enroll more than 400 people. However, there are some restrictions on who can participate.

“This is for people that have not had the illness,” said Rouhbakhsh. “And in fact, part of the process is we make sure we check you to make sure you have not had the illness because we know, as we talked about earlier, almost 24 times as many people have the illness as we actually have diagnosed. So, there may be a number of asymptomatic folks out there, and if they’ve already had this well then we can’t tell if the vaccine- we can’t tell if it’s helping you with immunity.”

Participants in the trial will be followed for two years. But there’s a slim chance it could end early.

“If the preliminary results of these vaccine trials are so positive that the Institutional Review Board that oversees these...they say look the data is so compelling already that is now unethical to continue to have a placebo arm and you need to stop the trial and offer this therapy to everyone in the clinical trial,” said Dr. Roubakhsh. “So, that would be the only way that a massively available vaccine would come before the end of the two-year trial period.”

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