Testing of possible COVID-19 vaccine heading to Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. — Testing of a possible vaccine for COVID-19 will begin in the City Beautiful in just a few weeks.

Dr. Michael Dever and his team at CNS Healthcare have been chosen to test two medications that might work against the coronavirus.

One is a potential vaccine, the other is a drug called nitazoxanide, which is used to treat diarrhea but was tested in a lab against the coronavirus.

“It breaks down the virus where it can’t replicate anymore, so they want to test it on people,” Dever said.


Specifically, Dever said, officials want to test it on health care workers who are exposed to the novel coronavirus every day.

So far, they only have a handful of volunteers, but need at least 200.

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Those interested should contact CNS at 407-425-5100. Or, click here to enroll.

If chosen for the trial, you would get a box containing six weeks worth of medication. Participants will take two pills twice a day with food, and record any symptoms or side effects with a daily questionnaire.

Dever said if nitazoxanide worked, it would ideally be replaced by a successful vaccine. The difference between the two is antibodies, which may give a person some level of immunity to the novel coronavirus.

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“When you get the vaccine you get antibodies. They protect you against the virus. Where this medication - you don't develop antibodies,” Dever said.

Vaccine trials start in early July, Dever said. Researchers can’t say which vaccine yet but Dever said, “it’s a synthetic made in the lab, no part of the virus at all.”

They need at least 100 healthy adults who have not been exposed to the virus for the vaccine trials.

“We're going to follow them for two years and see if they maintain the antibodies. And basically, I would think if the antibodies wane a bit, you just get a booster shot,” Dever said.

Around the world, more than 5.5 million people have become sick with COVID-19, and more than 348,000 people have died, including 2,200 Floridians.

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.

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