GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - With a dire projection that Mississippi could be the top state for COVID-19 infections per capita, a company in Gulfport has a lot of motivation to step in to help.
On Aug. 10, COVID-19 clinical trials will begin on the Coast in hopes of eventually finding a way to help stop the disease, and patients will get their shot at helping find a cure.
Dr. Don Gaddy, a Gulfport OB/GYN, will be one of the physicians in the South Mississippi region recruiting and monitoring subjects of the study for MedPharmics, a clinical research company with nine locations, including Gulfport.
“I think it’s probably one of the most significant studies that this country has ever seen,” he said. “And I think it’s important for us to develop a vaccine quickly because we all know what’s happening with this virus.”
Patients will be monitored for about two years, but the hope is that a vaccine will be found in six to 12 months, and Gaddy is asking for people to step up and volunteer.
“The selling point is that you could be involved in a study that could save numerous lives across the country and across the world,” he said. “If I could be part of something like that, that is why I come to work every day.”
MedPharmics is one of many companies around the country testing the vaccine for one unnamed pharmaceutical company.
Dr. Robert Jeanfreaux is the company president.
“This is a sentinel study. This is of huge clinical importance,” he said. “People have been working day and night for months trying to get this up and running. This is not just MedPharmics.”
The company has a goal of 500 patients in South Mississippi who are 18 and older in generally good health. The immediate purpose is to find out how many antibodies the vaccine will build.
Jeanfreaux said it’s a task worth taking on.
“Obviously, there is a range and degree of illness,” he said. “Some people don’t get real, real sick. Others get very, very sick, and those are the ones I see. And it’s terrible to see somebody who can’t breathe. It’s just awful.”
Jeanfreaux said participants in the study should not worry about getting COVID-19, because there are no live viral particles in the vaccination.
He added patients will be compensated for their participation.
Those interested should call MedPharmics at 228-206-1286.