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Texas A&M Clinical Trial uses vaccine for Healthcare Workers to help combat COVID-19

Posted at 5:57 PM, May 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 19:45:34-04

COLLEGE STATION, TX — The first volunteers of Texas A&M COVID-19 clinical trial received vaccinations on Wednesday in hopes that it will mitigate the effects of the coronavirus.

A group of Brazos County health workers have been vaccinated with the widely-used tuberculosis vaccine, BCG vaccine.

“In the United States, these are the very first volunteers in this study to receive the BCG vaccine or placebo to see if it reduces the burden of illness going forward," says Dr. Gabriel Neal, Director of the Texas A&M Health Family Care.

While frontline healthcare workers are the most vulnerable during this pandemic, researchers are wanting to see how they will respond to the vaccine.

“Offering a treatment that protects them from the illness related to COVID-19 would be a big step forward in protecting Americans and people all over the world," says Dr. Neal.

With an outcry of people wanting a vaccine, Dr. Jeffrey Cirillo, Texas A&M Regent’s Professor of Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology, says many who are responding do not fight the healthcare worker criteria.

"We get hundreds of people wanting to be vaccinated and then we have to go through and select the ones that actually qualify," he said.

Moving forward, Texas A&M researchers will begin testing healthcare workers across the state of Texas.

“We have sites in Houston, we have sites in Temple, Round Rock, Austin and Dallas," explains Dr. Cirillo.

But recruiting healthcare volunteers to participate in those areas has not yet started.

"Once they qualify they can select which site they want to be at.”

The clinical trial needs 18 hundred volunteers. Healthcare workers can volunteer for the trial at https://health.tamu.edu/bcgtrial/