Flu vaccine trial using mRNA technology accepting patients in Wilmington

Flu vaccine trial using mRNA technology accepting patients in Wilmington
Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 10:53 AM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A vaccine trial is taking place in Wilmington as researchers hope to better tackle flu season using mRNA technology.

“mRNA has been tested for many years, for at least over a decade,” said Dr. Evan Lucas, a pharmacist for Trial Management Associates. “The initial COVID vaccines were a good platform to be able to say this does work and this could be a new tool in being able to help prevent influenza illness.”

Hundreds of people in southeastern North Carolina are rolling up their sleeves to get this new version of the flu shot. Across the country, Trial Management Associates says thousands are participating.

It comes just two years after mRNA technology helped address the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, doctors are looking at other ways that types of vaccines can keep communities healthy.

“In a traditional flu shot, you receive a piece of the actual virus itself,” said Lucas. “The mRNA technology is unique in that it uses your body’s own production of proteins to be able to produce those proteins that say ‘hey, if you see this later, this is the flu and you need to be looking out for it and be able to prevent it.’”

The sponsors of the trials have not been released but Lucas says they are well-known companies in the vaccine industry.

The trial is still accepting new patients and will run at least through the end of the year. Those interested in participating can contact Trial Management Associates at 910-833-1954 or volunteers@trialmgt.com.

“Any participation in a clinical trial is voluntary so people get to be in control of how much, how little they want to participate and what types of things they would like to participate in,” said Lucas. “If they meet the criteria specified, they’ll be given the opportunity to take part and we’ll go through the process of seeing what that looks like and maybe even receive that vaccine that first day.”