GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - As COVID-19 cases top 100 once again in South Mississippi, hope springs eternal as a clinical trial for a vaccine the novel coronavirus started Tuesday in Gulfport.
As the race for the vaccine sweeps the globe, MedPharmics, a clinical research company in Gulfport, is spearheading a new vaccine trial.
As Cynthia Nyholm walked into the waiting room of MedPharmics, she was met with a barrage of questions that many of us have heard more than once or twice since March. Have you traveled outside or in an infected area? Have you experienced the loss of taste or smell?
With those questions answered, Nyholm is ready to do her part to help herself and others regain some scrap of the life that existed before COVID-19.
“Anything that will help get a vaccine so that we don’t have to wear these 24/7, and life can get back to normal, and we can travel, and we can go to any store that we want to, I’m for doing,” Nyholm said.
Unlike vaccines for other respiratory viruses, like the flu, MedPharmics CEO Andrea Jeanfreaux said this vaccine is a bit different.
“This vaccine is a genetic piece of the vaccine. We’re not giving you the part of the virus that causes illness. We’re giving you the part that has to do with the genetic code so the body can recognize it, build antibodies, and protect you from it,” Jeanfreaux said.
Jeanfreaux is happy to be facilitating the trial. However, for her and her husband, it’s personal.
“Recently my husband, who’s been taking care of the COVID patients, contracted the virus and ended up in ICU. He’s out as of last week so we’re good. Now we’re here this time to provide the vaccine and we’re hoping it’s like the final step to solving this pandemic crisis,” Jeanfreaux told WLOX.
A retired member of the armed forces, Nyholm wasn’t worried at all about being injected with a new, virtually unknown vaccine.
“To go overseas, when I had to go to Korea, we used to have to get different vaccines. Yeah, they didn’t feel good but I hate being inside all the time. I want us to be back to normal. It’s a good place to be,” Nyholm said.
MedPharmics is still looking for individuals who are interested in participating in the trial. If you are interested in participating, you are asked to call the clinic to set up an appointment. The clinic can be reached at (228) 206-1283.