Volunteers are being sought to participate in a medical trial to test the effectiveness and viability of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.

With a handful of research sites located in the Empire State, central New Yorkers interested in participating are encouraged to register.

The 'Phase 3' portion of the trial began last week. That's where researchers work to determine whether a vaccine is capable of fighting off the illness it is intended to disrupt, or if at least reduces the severity of illness upon infection.

The study is being conducted by the COVID-19 Prevention Network on the possible vaccine developed by biotech company Moderna and the National Institutes of Health called mRNA-1273. Researchers stress the mRNA-1273 vaccine cannot infect you or get you sick with COVID-19, as this vaccine is not made from the SARS CoV-2 virus, instead, ''It is made from messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA), a genetic code that tells cells how to make protein, which helps the body’s immune system make antibodies to fight the virus,'' according to CoronavirusPreventionNetwork.org.

The study - which can take up to five full years to complete - is broken into five phases:

  • Phase 1 - Safety, tolerance, and side effects
  • Phase 2 - How many doses required for effectiveness, and how frequently
  • Phase 2b - Overall effectiveness against COVID-19
  • Phase 3 - Does it prevent other disease or reduce the severity of those infections
  • Phase 4 - Bridging Study examining prevention

What do you need to do/know to be apart of the study?

There are a number of things you should be aware of if you're interested in volunteering to be apart of the study. But, first and foremost, you must be at least 18 years old to participate. From there, a quick questionnaire will determine your eligibility.

Other things include (for a full list click here - CoronavirusPreventionNetwork.org) :

  • Most studies require coming into the research site for 10 or more visits over 1-2 years (there are a few located in New York State).
  • Every study involves getting injections or infusions. You might get the study product we are researching, or you might get a placebo (a liquid with no active ingredients).
  • When you are enrolled in the study, we will ask you to keep track of how you feel for about a week following each infusion or shot. The study staff will also be in contact with you to find out how you’re feeling during this time.
  • Volunteers will not be exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus as part of the study. These are studies of preventive vaccines that we hope will keep people healthy.
  • If you become infected with SARS-CoV-2 and become ill with COVID-19, the study staff will work with you to make sure you get the care that you need.

As of this posting, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 4.6-million Americans have been infected with the virus, with more than 154,000 deaths attributed to it.

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