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Wilmington Firms Selected For Third Phase Coronavirus Vaccine Trials

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Jun 24, 2020
Wilmington will be one of many sites around the county to take part in a third-phase trial for the development of a potential coronavirus vaccine.

Trial Management Associates LLC (TMA), along with Bart Williams and Will Jones, two physicians at Wrightsville Family Practice, have been selected to conduct the trial in Wilmington, according to a news release Wednesday.

TMA is a clinical research management company based in Wilmington. The group was previously selected by Massachusetts-based Moderna Inc. to conduct Phase 2 trials of Moderna's mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, vaccine. The Phase 2 trials with Moderna, in which Wilmington was made one of 10 sites for the trial, began earlier this year.

For this Phase 3 trial, client confidentiality prevents TMA from releasing further details about the companies involved until the trial commences, officials said Wednesday.

The trials are slated to begin in July. The vaccine is the first to move on to phase three trials in the United States, officials said.

TMA and Wrightsville Family Practice are recruiting healthy study volunteers ages 18 and older from Wilmington and the surrounding communities to participate in the trial, stated the release. They are especially seeking health care workers, first responders and other essential workers who face higher exposure to the virus.

“We are excited to be a part of this Phase III trial of a vaccine that is the front-runner in the fight against COVID-19,” Williams, the study's principal investigator, said in the release. “The Phase II trial is showing the vaccine is safe, so now we move to Phase III, which is the last step before FDA approval.”
 
"I can tell you the development of this vaccine is moving very quickly, which should give us hope for a vaccine sooner rather than later,”  Phil Dattilo, president of TMA, said last week.

“This vaccine trial is an extraordinary opportunity for our community, and we are excited to keep the momentum going by building on the success of the Phase II trial,” Dattilo said in the Wednesday release. “We are looking for volunteers who come in contact with lots of people throughout the day, such as those working in healthcare, service, restaurants, retail, grocery stores, and other high-traffic areas.”
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