Plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trials in Lincoln

Published: Apr. 30, 2021 at 6:22 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - To get the masses vaccinated experts say more options are needed and here in Lincoln clinical trials are starting on one with a different concept than most.

Medicago’s COVID-19 vaccine is plant-based. Created by the biopharmaceutical company out of Canada.

Early data indicates that Medicago’s vaccine could potentially provide longer protection against COVID-19.

“Going to produce a better immune response,” said Dr. Mark Carlson, with Be Well Clinical Studies in Lincoln. “Then because of the plant-based nature of it, it reduces the chances of side effects that some vaccines have problems with.”

Vaccines produced by companies like Pfizer and Moderna are known as mRNA, which attacks spike proteins and utilizes genetic materials.

The ones being tested out here in Lincoln uses plants.

“This vaccine is produced in a plant,” Dr. Carlson said. “We think the way it’s bioengineered with the proteins, there are no actual virus proteins used in this.”

Dr. Carlson said this model will not only apply to COVID-19 but can hopefully be adapted to aid in other mutations or similar types of viruses.

“It will also broaden our medical bag in terms of tools that we have available. Not only just to treat this virus, but viruses like it in the future,” Dr. Carlson said.

The study needs 30,000 people who are 18 and older and not previously vaccinated to participate before it can be approved for federal emergency use.

They’re looking for about 240 people from the Lincoln area alone.

“there’s going to be the altruistic benefit to medical science,” Dr. Carlson said. “But in this case, there’s also the benefit that you will ultimately get vaccinated.”

Participants will be asked to complete 10 study visits, two phone calls, and study diary entries.

If you complete the study, you will be compensated with around $1,000.

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