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Charlotte Business Journal: Tryon Medical Partners approved to conduct Covid-19 vaccine trial

Charlotte Business Journal reporter Caroline Hudson tweets about Tryon Medical Partners COVID-19 vaccine research trial

Charlotte Business Journal spoke with CEO Dr. Dale Owen about Tryon Medical Partners’ role in a COVID-19 vaccine trial. Caroline Hudson’s full July 21, 2020, story can be read here. There are the highlights:

Tryon Medical Partners has one of six sites chosen in North Carolina for a Covid-19 vaccine trial.

Charlotte-based Tryon Medical is partnering with Winston-Salem’s Javara to test mRNA-1273, a vaccine created by Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA) with help from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Tryon plans to enroll about 350 patients starting as early as next week.

Participants do not have to be existing Tryon patients. The trial will be at Tryon’s SouthPark location.

The vaccine does not carry the full virus. It has “spike proteins” from the Covid-19 virus, prompting the body’s immune system to build up antibodies against those proteins. Future exposure will trigger an immune response. It can take the body 15 to 20 days to make the antibodies, said Dr. Dale Owen, CEO of Tryon Medical Partners.

Participants will receive a second dose about a month later. Researchers will follow up with them for two years to study how long immunity lasts. Federal officials could, however, approve the vaccine within months depending on trial results.

Javara is playing an administrative role. The medical research company already has a relationship with Tryon, following a decision nearly a year ago to partner on clinical trials. The Moderna trial was a good match for the patient population here and drew local doctors’ interest, said Daisy DeWeese-Gatt, vice president of clinical operations at Javara.

Selecting trial sites was a competitive process with a lot of analysis, DeWeese-Gatt said. She thinks it is significant that Tryon was chosen. Owen said it speaks to the group’s adaptability and ability to quickly pivot when needed.

“One without the other doesn’t do this. You need both, and you need both to work as a team,” Owen said of the partnership.

The trial is for adults 18 years and older. It will study the vaccine’s effect on older adults and those with co-morbid conditions, such as heart or lung issues, kidney failure and liver disease. Owen said the trial will also look at people with high exposure to the general public, such as first responders and health-care workers.