SANDY CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – There is an urgency around creating a vaccine for COVID-19.
Pfizer says its two-dose vaccine is more than 90 percent effective.
Two other major companies are creating their own vaccine and testing them in the Beehive State.
Driving by the Northwest corner of the Mountain America Expo Center, you’ll see these six trailers announcing an “Advanced Clinical Research COVID Vaccine Trial”.
“The American military brought those trailers in super quick. They did a fantastic job, put them down, So rather than trying to fit out a new clinic, we actually had this temporary clinic in the matter of weeks,” says CEO of Velocity Clinical Research Dr. Paul Evans. “What I can tell you is that it worked very well in Salt Lake, and that is not the case everywhere in the country. We operate 14 research sites across the US. This is not the only location where we needed to do this.”
He says the vaccine site will host two trials through Operation Warp Speed which is run through the Department of Defense.
“The study we are running at Salt Lake is for Janssen [or Johnson-Johnson]. We are also testing the vaccine for AstraZeneca as well,” says Dr. Evans. “One of the ways that we are getting to a vaccine quicker than we ordinarily do, is we are running these very large studies, 30,000 patients, 60,000 patients, and delivering a result much quicker because we are running such large trials.”
Dr. Evans says up to 3,000 people will take part in the trial here in Utah. Those who sign up for the COVID-19 trial may have to participate in it for up to two-years.
“So Salt Lake is going to, we are hoping, is going to be responsible for making quite a big contribution to the success of those two vaccines,” says Dr. Evans. “It is critically important that as much as the Pfizer vaccine is looking incredibly promising on the intern analysis, it doesn’t stop there and we need these others which means we need to conduct these clinical trials.”
The FDA will first need to conclude an approval for the vaccines.
“Everybody looks up to the FDA,” he says. “It may have become something of a political hot potato in recent months, but essentially this is a body we can trust, and other countries do.”
If approved, the vaccines could be put into use sometime in 2021.
“It is a huge logistical exercise. There are 330 million Americans. That means we need 660 million shots because we all need two,” says Dr. Evans.
Evans says Healthcare workers and the most vulnerable populations will get the first doses.
“I’m very proud of the results we are getting in Utah, and I think the State of Utah should be proud of how it is contributing to the development of a vaccine. It is going to protect the world,” he adds. “This is going way beyond just the state. It’s going way beyond the United States, and this is a major-major event for the whole world.”
Doctors say until a vaccine is available, people should continue to wear masks to make it more difficult for the virus to spread.
If you would like to learn more information on the COVID Vaccine Trial, you can contact Advanced Clinical Research at 801.542.8198.