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.



MOST RECENT

Attendees sample a wide variety of global wines and cuisine during Wine & Food Week. (Courtesy Food & Vine Time Productions)
Wine & Food Week returns to The Woodlands and more news from the Houston area

Read business and community news from the Houston area.

The number of deaths reported has been declining for the past three week, according to the Texas Medical Center. (Community Impact staff)
Texas Medical Center: COVID-19 hospitalizations down 10% since Aug. 3

The number of deaths reported has been declining for the past three week, according to the Texas Medical Center.

Harris County leaders discussed this week whether to raise or lower property taxes. (Courtesy Fotolia)
UPDATED: Harris Co. commissioners eyeing property tax rates

This article was updated Aug. 8 to clarify that an 8% tax rate increase is not considered to be on the table by commissioners.

The county's active case count fell to its lowest level in weeks, while resident deaths continue to rise. (Community Impact staff)
Five COVID-19 deaths reported in Montgomery County on Aug. 7; active case count continues to fall

The county's active case count fell to its lowest level in weeks, while resident deaths continue to rise.

A mother and daughter visit at Seasons Assisted Living & Memory Care in Conroe earlier in the pandemic. (Courtesy Seasons Assisted Living & Memory Care)
Texas allows limited visitations to nursing homes, long-term care facilities

Facilities that meet the requirements will allow limited visitations, but you still will not be able to hug or kiss your loved one.

HomeAid Houston partnered with Boys and Girls Country to open three cottages in Hockley. (Courtesy Boys and Girls Country)
Builders partner to serve homeless population through nonprofit HomeAid Houston

Since launching in 2003, the organization has helped provide 20,000 beds for homeless individuals in the Houston area.

Montgomery County saw a sharp decrease in its population of people experiencing homelessness. (Kaitlin Schmidt/Community Impact Newspaper)
DATA: Here's a breakdown of the homelesss population in Montgomery County

The coalition counted 145 people on its annual count, a 51% decrease from the 298 counted in 2019.

The 2020 U.S. census response rate is already lagging behind 2010 numbers, and officials said the shortened timeline only increases the chances of an undercount. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Shortened census timeline could shortchange Houston, its most vulnerable communities

The 2020 U.S. census response rate is already lagging behind 2010 numbers, and officials said the shortened timeline only increases the chances of an undercount.

The farm-to-table restaurant plans to create 90 jobs and offer familiar American meals. (Courtesy Whiskey Cake)
Whiskey Cake restaurant to open in The Woodlands and more Houston-area news

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