Wake Research needs volunteers for trials on 2 COVID-19 vaccines

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The key to all of us getting out of the house and back to life as we once knew it may be in your hands.

A Raleigh company is testing two COVID-19 vaccines and needs volunteers right now.

"We truly need front line and diversity," Aubrey Farray told ABC11.

Farray is the clinical director for Wake Research.

The Raleigh company is conducting trials on a potential vaccine developed by Moderna and a Pfizer vaccine also developed to ward off COVID-19.

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"Both of these drugs have been through the rigors of Phase 1 clinical trials So we have reason to believe that they're safe and tolerable," Farray said, "However, it's still an investigational product. So, we need to collect that data."

They especially need volunteers from three groups most at risk for getting the coronavirus:

Frontline healthcare workers and essential workers in retail, hospitality, and the service industries are high on the list.

Also needed -- older participants and those with health issues such as diabetes and asthma.

And then there are the minority populations hardest hit by the virus - Black, Asian, and Latinos.

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"In order to have a successful clinical trial, you need diversity. So, we really need to test those who are minority groups," Farray said.

Because of social distancing, a lot of the research will be conducted remotely.

But between in-person and telehealth visits, participants will be paid nearly $2,000.

The Wake Research trials are also part of Operation Warp Speed, a federal program that aims to get COVID-19 drugs and vaccines to market quickly.

An Operation Warp Speed trailer is in the parking lot of Wake Research's Raleigh facility.

But Farray doesn't want people to get their hopes up for a vaccine this year.

He thinks it's more likely to come in 2021.

"While speed is key, we need to make sure we do it right. So, I'm hopeful, but we'll see," he said.

And when it comes to fighting the pandemic, Farray said competition is taking a backseat to cooperation as researchers are pulling for each other and their drugs and vaccines.
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