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COVID-19 ​clinical trial taking place in Butte
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COVID-19 ​clinical trial taking place in Butte

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Mercury Street Medical Clinical Research and St. James Healthcare teamed up Nov. 9 to bring an experimental COVID-19 vaccine to southwest Montana.

The vaccine was developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford in England.

AstraZeneca, founded in 1999, is an international biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Cambridge, England.

According to recent news reports, the vaccine, AZD1222, seems to be working well in older adults, and uses a harmless adenovirus that contains the genetic material of the COVID-19 spike protein. The vaccine stimulates the production of the surface spike protein, which primes the immune system to recognize the virus if infected.

The medical journal Lancet reported in July that preliminary studies found the vaccine was not only safe but generated an immune response to the virus.

Local clinical research study leaders include Mercury Street Medical staff, Dr. John Pullman, Dr. David Chamberlain, and Erin Williams-Leber, a certified physician assistant. The St. James team is led by Dr. Jennifer Davenport, chief medical officer, along with Maria Brown and Mary Ann Jones, both medical technologists certified by the American Society for Clinical Pathology.

The program is part of the nationwide COVID-19 Prevention Network, formed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to help lead the scientific response to the pandemic.

"St. James has a history of partnering with our local healthcare providers and during times like this we all need to work together for the sake of our community", said Davenport. "The vaccine trial is just part of the overall plan to help control the COVID-19 virus. I know Dr. Pullman and his staff at Mercury Street Medical will do their very best to conduct the trial safely."

The trial is in the final stage of human testing.

According to Tanner Gooch, communications manager at St. James Healthcare, 50 people from southwest Montana have so far participated and 75 more are needed to complete the trial.

Individuals interested in volunteering for the study can visit​ ​https://www.c19vaccinestudy.com/​ or call 406-723-1375.

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