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New plant-based COVID-19 vaccine being tested in Wilmington

Updated: Apr. 13, 2021 at 12:17 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A new vaccine for COVID-19 that utilizes plant cells is being tested in Wilmington. Trial Management Associates is conducting the trial, in conjunction with Drs. Bart Williams and Will Jones of Wrightsville Family Practice.

“The vaccine for this study is plant-based, meaning that it is produced inside of plants and plant cells instead of animal or human cells as many vaccines are,” explained TMA Pharmacist Evan Lucas. “The plants produce virus-like particles which look very similar to coronavirus but do not make you sick. These particles trigger the immune system to respond and produce antibodies, helping patients develop immunity against COVID-19.”

The vaccine is expected to be more attractive to patients with ethical objections to existing vaccines.

“Some patients in our community are hesitant to receive the current COVID-19 vaccines approved by the FDA. We worked hard to secure this trial because the plant-based technology offers an alternative, and everyone who participates in the trial will ultimately receive the vaccine,” Dr. Williams said.

This is the second COVID-19 vaccine being tested by TMA. The company already conducted trials on the Moderna vaccine, which is now being distributed to patients across the country.

TMA is seeking volunteers ages 18 year and older to participate in the study. The trial requires five in office visits, and all patients will be compensated for their time and travel. If anyone in Wilmington, NC, and the surrounding communities would like more information or sign up to participate, please contact TMA at covidvaccine@trialmgt.com or call (910) 247-4580.

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