While COVID-19 clinical trials don’t include children, local research company adding teens

Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 3:43 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 1, 2020 at 8:29 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Researchers continue to work on a vaccine for COVID-19, but there seems to be one group left out of the clinical trials: children.

Researchers at Quality Clinical Research in Omaha are working with Pfizer to develop a vaccine. Officials say there are more than 100 different companies in the U.S. working to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. Right now, all of the leading vaccine trials involve adults.

But Seneca Harrison, CEO and vice president of QCR tells us that recently they’ve opened up to recruit trial participants ages 16 and older.

“You’re now getting into the high school and the freshman, sophomores in college if you open it up from (age) 16, where you have a population that is usually clustered together. Either they’re in the dorms or their friends circle, or people’s parents' basements. They’re hanging out a lot more than the adults that are doing the social distancing.”

The vaccines are first tested on adults.

Harrison said he hasn’t seen anything yet about anyone working on a vaccine for children younger than age 16.

Dr. Russell McCulloh with the University of Nebraska Medical Center said families and children often participate in clinical trials when they understand the trial and get a chance to engage in the process. Without that participation, and without a vaccine for children, the virus won’t be under control, he said.

“While they don’t have severe of symptoms, (kids) still transmit the virus,” he said. “Some do get very sick. ... An effective and safe vaccine for children will reduce transmission of the virus to other children and also to adults.”

UNMC is working with national organizations to bring adult clinical trials to our communities and will also be on the front lines working to bring pediatric trials of a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it becomes available.

Copyright 2020 WOWT. All rights reserved.

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