HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- The employees and staff working inside an unassuming office park in Henrico’s West End could hold one of the keys in fighting this pandemic.
Dr. Robert Call leads a team of medical experts at Clinical Research Partners where he serves as president and medical director.
“I want to be on the cutting edge of what technology is offering,” he said. “We do a lot of vaccine studies. We did Ebola, we’ve done a lot of flu [studies], we’ve done pneumonia vaccines.”
Starting next month, his team will begin testing a J&J booster shot in combination with the Janssen flu vaccine.
“Some people will get the COVID booster on one day and then the flu vaccine four weeks later,” Dr. Call explained. “So, some people will get it the same day and some people will get it on separate days.”
Their goal is to test how effectively both shots work together over a period of time. Some volunteers will receive the two doses four weeks apart.
“For this study, you could have either the J&J, Pfizer or Moderna [COVID-19 vaccines] and still do this vaccine, flu combo,” Call stated.
Dr. Call needs 100 volunteers over the age of 18 who are in relatively good health and not pregnant or breastfeeding.
“We have a very diverse population here in Richmond and that’s what’s needed in clinical trials,” he recalled. “Volunteers are what make or break you. For the AstraZeneca vaccine, we had a couple of thousand volunteers which was incredible.”
If you would like to get protected against the coronavirus and the flu this year, Dr. Call urges you to go to his website and sign up.
“When you’re a doctor and you’ve run out of options or you don’t have options, you have to send someone to a university. With clinical research, this gives me more options. I want to be on the cutting edge of what technology is offering,” Call stated.
No volunteers will receive a placebo in this study.
According to recent CDC data, unvaccinated people are six times at greater risk of testing positive for COVID-19 and 11 times at greater risk of dying from the coronavirus if unvaccinated.
“I trust the vaccine more than I trust the virus and that’s why I got my vaccine for COVID,” Dr. Call said. “I didn’t want to get that virus. I don’t trust it.”