PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – Portland could become instrumental in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, as clinical trials for a new vaccine could begin here as early as next week.

Kaiser Permanente in Portland is taking the reins on the research as the vaccine will be tested on thousands of people.

The vaccine is moving into the final stages of testing, with researchers moving closer to getting the vaccine on the market to bring the COVID-19 pandemic to an end.

Kaiser Permanente participates in COVID-19 vaccine trial in Portland

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“I mean, really, we look around the world and the horrific impact this pandemic has had,” Britta Torgrimson-Ojerio with Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research said. “The human toll, the social toll, the economic toll, and having an effective vaccine is really what we need to get us back to our normal lives.”

The Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research will begin clinical trials over the next few weeks for the vaccine.

“Soon, we’ll be able to start looking at that data and start to really understand this particular vaccine,” Torgrimson-Ojerio said. “We need to compare it to a placebo, so compare it to basically nothing, to see if it actually is effective.”

The healthcare provider says Portland is one of four sites in the United States that plans to test around 1,400 patients. The trial will ultimately test the vaccine on 30,000 people around the world.

“What we want to see is that the safety continues to look really good for this and we can continue to understand how effective it is,” Torgrimson-Ojerio said.

This will be the final stages of testing, where researchers say they hope to understand how long the vaccine can prove to be effective. While the vaccine is in its final stage, there is no timeline yet for when it could potentially be available, Kaiser Permanente says.

“Everyone wants to do this as quickly as possible but then at the same time we really have to make sure that we have all the data we need and that we can really understand it,” Torgrimson-Ojerio said.

Kaiser Permanente says it will send emails and flyers to qualified members to see their interest in participating in the study. Portland’s researchers say they are excited to be a part of these trials and what they could mean on a global level.

Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.


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