MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Vice President Mike Pence will visit the University of Miami on Monday to mark the beginning of Phase 3 trials for a coronavirus vaccine.

The university’s Miller School of Medicine is taking part in the Phase 3 trial of a vaccine developed by the biotech firm Moderna.

“We have never seen vaccine development at this speed before, and I think we can all see there is a very good reason for that. I think that all the usual steps, checking safety, and efficacy are still being, they are all just at an accelerated speed,” explained infectious disease expert Dr. Susanne Doblecki-Lewis.

The clinical trial, which is expected to begin next week, is part of a 30,000-person study and The Miller School plans to enroll 1,000 volunteers in South Florida.

The volunteers will be injected with the investigational vaccine by Moderna.

“The Moderna vaccine is using MRNA which is sort of genetic material that makes one protein copy in the cells of the part of the coronavirus and then your body makes an immune response to that. So it is a different approach,” explained Dr. Doblecki-Lewis.

Dr. Maria Alcaide, the Director of Infectious Diseases Research at the University of Miami Health System, said so far the vaccine trial has shown it to be safe.

“So far we know that the vaccine is safe meaning, that it doesn’t have major side effects and we also know it has been able to produce antibodies. That means that there is a potential that those antibodies will be able to fight future infections.”

Dr. Alcaide said during the trial, they will not only be looking for the development of antibodies, but also how participants become infected after getting the vaccine.

With Miami now being the epicenter for the spread of the virus. Dr. Alcaide said with their aggressive research, she hopes this will be the stop to the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“This virus is a very aggressive virus and we are learning that the vaccine will be one of the only ways to prevent this virus,” she said.

To volunteer for the clinical trials, click here.  You must be 18 or older.

 

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