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New COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials begin in Colorado Springs

pfizer vaccine COVID

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The Lynn Institute of the Rockies is leading late-stage clinical trials in Colorado Springs for a new COVID-19 vaccine, beginning phase three trials of the Novavax vaccine on Monday.

"One of the things we're trying to ensure is that these vaccines are safe," Dr. Ripley Hollister said.

Hollister, who is also leading Moderna trials at the clinic, said they are currently enrolling about 300 volunteers for the study, which is part of a larger effort comprised of 30,000 participants in the U.S. and Mexico.

"In this study, the protocol will call for a 2 to 1 vaccine to placebo. So, basically 68% of the people who enroll in this trial will receive the active vaccine," Hollister said.

Participants must be over the age of 18 with a healthy medical history.

"The way that this study has been engineered is to mirror what's going on with the pandemic. So, it is pretty open."

According to Hollister, one significant difference between the Novavax and other vaccines is that it's protein based.

"This actually takes the whole process a step down the road. So, we don't give messenger RNA. We give the actual sort of analog of the spike protein. That spike protein then goes into the immune system and stimulates these blocking antibodies."

Early studies show antibodies developed from this vaccine were actually superior to those in patients developed from the virus.

Storage of the Novavax vaccine, Hollister said, is simpler too.

"The Pfizer vaccine, down on the far end of the spectrum, has to be stored 70 degrees below zero. Moderna is simple freezing. But the Novavax stays even one step easier, by just actual refrigeration."

However, like both Pfizer and Moderna, participants should expect mild symptoms.

"It does take a little bit out of you. In our first study, people would have mild symptoms for a day or so. We expect the same thing out of Novavax."

Volunteers interested in the trial must complete a form on the clinic's website.

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Jen Moynihan

Jen Moynihan is a weekend anchor and reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Jen here.

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