Tomball research center starting coronavirus vaccine trials

DM Clinical Research, a Tomball research center, has begun testing a coronavirus vaccine. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
DM Clinical Research, a Tomball research center, has begun testing a coronavirus vaccine. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

DM Clinical Research, a Tomball research center, has begun testing a coronavirus vaccine. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

DM Clinical Research, a Tomball research center located on Medical Complex Drive, has begun testing a coronavirus vaccine on patients in the Greater Houston area.

Fredric Santiago, an investigator and internal medicine specialist for the trials, said in a July 9 interview the trials are currently in Phase 3 and being funded by pharmaceutical companies.

“Phase 3 is the last step before general marketing of the vaccine,” he said. “Phase 4 is the post-marketing phase and sold to the public.”

Santiago said DM Clinical was chosen not only for its reputation and history of working on vaccine trials and drugs, but because of its location as well.

“Some of it has to do with the infection rate and activity of COVID[-19] in this area,” he said.

Although the vaccine is in Phase 3 of its trials, Santiago said getting it to the public depends on results of the trials and could last anywhere from three to 12 months.

If the results of the trials are going well within the first three to six months, Santiago said it could be given out to the public. However, if results are poor it could result in ending the trials.

“Does one shot provide lasting immunity? Or do you need a booster? Or do you have to have it redone every year because the virus is changing its genetic makeup?” he said. “Those are the questions that are going to be answered as a result of this study.”

The vaccine does not contain the novel coronavirus, Santiago said; instead, it is a novel particle that makes the body create antibodies to attack the virus.

One of purposes of the study is to identify those who are at higher risk of exposure to the coronavirus and those who are at risk of suffering complications if exposed to the virus.

Santiago said DM Clinical Research is currently looking for volunteers who fit into the two categories of people who are at a higher risk of exposure—such as health care workers, first responders, families of first responders, and those who do not follow health and safety guidelines such as wearing a mask—and those who are part of the at-risk population for suffering complications, such as the elderly.

A stipend of just over $1,000 will be given to volunteers who are chosen for the trials to get a wider range of people, Santiago said.

“Participating in a study like this has costs associated with it ... you may have to travel here or pay for a babysitter,” he said. “If you don’t help people with [those costs], you will only get people in the study who can afford to be here.”

Santiago said researchers need people from all socioeconomic levels and diverse backgrounds to prove the vaccine works across the general population.

“We have gotten behind the curve in trying to control COVID[-19] in this country and around the planet because of its tendency to be highly infectious," he said. “In order to get back to normal, we are going to have to be able to control this bug. ... The major way to do that is to develop a vaccine that would either limit how serious[ly] the infection occurs in a person in the future, or either decrease the chances of dying from it.”

Santiago said DM Clinical Research is actively trying to recruit as many people from the community as possible to participate to get ahead of the virus.

“It has disrupted everything, and the sooner we can get on top of this infection and return to normal the better everyone [will be],” he said.


The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said power outages are not expected April 13, while requesting energy conservation. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
UPDATE: ERCOT call for energy conservation ends April 13 without need for power outages

An ERCOT official said "tight" supply and demand conditions arose on the state's electric grid April 13 due to forecasting issues amid planned, seasonal maintenance outages by some power generators.

Spearheaded by state Rep. Gene Wu, D-Houston, the new court, if established, would expand the capacity of the county's criminal court system in hopes of reducing its backlog, which stood at 70,951 total cases pending before criminal district courts in Harris County as of April 8. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Harris County supports creation of new criminal district court to tackle case backlog

If the efforts are successful, this would be Harris County's first new criminal district court since 1984 when the 351st District Court was created.

Northwest Harris County Municipal Utility District No. 5 covers 22 communities and roughly 2,800 acres around the border of Cy-Fair and Tomball. (Courtesy Northwest Harris County MUD No. 5)
Northwest Harris County MUD pitches bond referendums to keep up with growth, bolster trail system

Northwest Harris County MUD No. 5—which caters to 22 subdivisions around the border of Cy-Fair and Tomball—is seeking voter approval on bond referendums that officials said will help maintain aging utility infrastructure, launch a water reclamation project and bring new trails to the community.

Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough speaks during a budget presentation April 13. (Screenshot via Montgomery County livestream)
Montgomery County commissioners begin FY 2021-22 budget talks

Budget talks have begun at the county level, with a workshop scheduled for late July.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended health providers pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine April 13. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
State, federal health authorities recommend pause of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after 6 rare, severe blood clots

Hub providers in Dallas, Harris and Travis counties have all announced they will follow the recommendations and pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Hackberry Plaza to bring 15,000 square feet of space along FM 1488 this summer

The plaza includes two 7,500-square-foot buildings with approximately six tenants slated for each.

Armored Sports camps feature basketball, flag football and more. (Courtesy Pexels)
Armored Sports camps to launch in venues across Greater Houston

A new Christian sports camp for youth is launching this summer in churches across the Greater Houston area.

Montgomery County's active COVID-19 case count was 1,692 as of April 9. (Community Impact staff)
Montgomery County active COVID-19 case count drops below 1,700 as of April 9

The active COVID-19 case count in Montgomery County is the lowest it has been since October.

"Breaking Strongholds" is a faith-based, eight-episode series that explores topics such as suicide and depression. (Courtesy Terry Weaver)
Series shot in Montgomery County aiming for Hulu, Netflix deal and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

Construction on Creekside Court, a KB Home community, is underway in Magnolia on Carraway Lane near FM 2978. (Courtesy KB Home)
97-homesite Creekside Court under construction at Carraway Lane, FM 2978

Construction on Creekside Court, a KB Home community, is underway in Magnolia on Carraway Lane near FM 2978.

Mental health services have seen an increased demand through 2020 and early 2021. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Q&A: Tri-County Behavioral Healthcare director speaks on increased demands from pandemic

Evan Roberson spoke on the demand for mental health services as well as what his organization has seen over the past year.

The temporary waiver covering initial vehicle registration, vehicle registration renewal, vehicle titling, renewal of permanent disabled parking placards and 30-day temporary permits will end April 14. (Hannah Zedaker/Community Impact Newspaper)
DMV officials say no grace period following waiver of car title, registration; new housing set for Magnolia, Cypress

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Houston area.