The search for a vaccination against the Zika virus continues in the Rio Grande Valley.
Doctors at the research institute at Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance Health System continue to recruit for a clinical trial, which launched in October 2017.
“The ultimate goal of this study is to provide a Zika vaccine that is easy to administer,” said Dr. Robert Noonan, lead investigator of the trial.
As of today, 20 out of the required 50 participants have enrolled. But, Noonan says they have only accepted about half of the people screened.
“In the Valley, there is a high incidence of diabetes,” Noonan said. “Diabetes is one of the diseases which will exclude you from being a participant in the trial.”
The recent flu outbreak could impact recruitment.
“If potential enrollees get a flu vaccine, we can’t enroll them,” said Noonan. “This time, when the flu is very common, more people will be getting vaccines.”
Noonan also says it’s possible that not all are aware of the ongoing trial or they may be weary of the virus.
“We are not giving people the Zika virus,” said Noonan. “They are getting a Zika vaccine, which means it’s an investigational product that will provide immunity against the Zika virus.”
Enrollees will be injected with three vaccines and must commit to 96 weeks of follow-up care.
Noonan says there is no set deadline by which the trial will conclude.
“The trial will really end when all patients– and it’s about 2,500 patients in all 30 sites — have completed all of their follow-up,” said Noonan.