COVID-19 vaccine development has been nothing short of a miracle. Under normal circumstances, vaccine development can take ten years, but this time multiple vaccines were created in less than twelve months. This has only been possible with the help of many thousands of people who have volunteered to take part in clinical trials. Among them is Angelo Fresco, who saw an advert asking for 30,000 volunteers in Fort Worth, Dallas. After doing some online research about what was involved, he jumped at the chance to take part.
"I went to a local hospital and had an hour-long questionnaire with a researcher about medical history, medications, everything from top to bottom. They gave me a physical, and then we proceeded with blood tests and a nasal swab, which wasn't very comfortable. After that, I was deemed physically fit to get the vaccine or the placebo."
Being a double-blind study, Angelo didn't know whether he was given the real vaccine or the placebo, and neither did the researchers. While some people may be nervous about participating in a clinical trial, Angelo had no such qualms.
"I researched trials and what they entail. If they involved me being in phase one or two, then I would've been nervous. But I was in phase three, so I was one among 30,000. I didn't think it would be risky.
"They gave me an app to go onto my phone, and for the first seven days after the injection, I was asked a series of questions. I was also given a little thermometer for my temperature readings. There was then a weekly questionnaire, and randomly during a month, one of the clinicians calls and asks more in-depth questions.
Also, I was given another injection after two weeks."
With coronavirus, the challenge for humanity is enormous, and by contributing to a trial, Angelo hopes he is helping to put an end to the pandemic.
Advancing Science"Knowing how bad things are everywhere in the world, I guess I just wanted to help. I just like to help advance science and help the nations of the world. It is something that I feel fulfilling to do. If it isn't going to be harmful to me, then I'm happy to help with the vaccine. Actually, the vaccine in my clinical trial has been passed. It's the Moderna vaccine.
The Moderna vaccine was issued an Emergency Use Authorization by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on December 19, 2020, authorized for use in Canada on December 23, 2020, and in Europe on January 6, 2021. It was the news that Angelo had hoped for.
"It made me feel good the day that it passed. Wow, I was a part of that!"
Angelo is part of the CenTrial.org community of volunteers and hopes to participate in other studies that will help to advance medical therapies and treatments.