Plant-based vaccine study
HOUSTON – For people who prefer more natural options, the ones who like to know exactly what’s going into their bodies, the Texas Center for Drug Development said they can still protect you from COVID-19 with a new plant-based vaccine.
One of the vaccine candidates, developed by Medicago, is now in Phase 3 of the testing process. Another plant-based vaccine candidate by Kentucky BioProcessing Inc. is enrolling in a Phase 1 trial. Compensation for the KBP vaccine trial is up to $2,000.
Researchers are looking for people 18 and older, who have not been vaccinated and are not interested in getting an mRNA or traditional vaccine, but are willing to try protecting themselves with a plant-based alternative.
The recruitment lead for HoustonFightsCOVID.com, Dr. Sarah Hasan, said this could be beneficial for people with allergies to ingredients in traditional vaccines or those with a preference for something natural.
But she said the side effects are the same as what they see with the vaccines that are currently available.
“When we talk about the mRNA vaccines, we talk about they’re synthetic and they’re made in a lab and I think that’s already a turn-off for people. I think the words natural, plant-based kind of apply to us a little bit more. They are a little bit more attractive,” Hasan said.
Hasan also said she is confident it will protect you from the virus. The main difference is your comfort level - if you prefer plant-based or not.
So how does that work?
“There is a protein put into your body, just like the other vaccines, and your body is able to elicit an immune response to it,” Hasan said.
Participants also needed for other studies
In addition to the plant-based trial, TCDD is also looking for more participants for Pfizer’s “freeze-dried” vaccine.
Remember, the Pfizer vaccine is normally kept around -100 degrees, which is often a problem when transporting it and storing it in rural areas. So, the company is looking at other methods to give the same vaccine longer shelf life.
“With these new formulations and the new way they were able to make it, we’re able to sustain them longer so we’re able to reach more people,” Hasan said.
The biggest advantage is there’s no placebo group with this trial, so you’ll get a vaccine, which can help if you’re struggling to find one.
Other important trials include booster shots to enhance protection; which has been tailored to better target virus variants, and that is investigating their potential use in children and infants.
To register for any and of the trials in our area, visit HoustonFightsCOVID.com