Vaccine for COVID-19 may be found at Fleming Island research office

ENCORE Research Group needs volunteers to test antibody markers for cure


FLEMING ISLAND – A vaccine for COVID-19 may be found in Clay County.

Volunteers are asked to participate in a clinic study to test a possible vaccine for the deadly virus, according to Sharon Smith, Vice President of Recruitment for ENCORE Research Group. The company’s Fleming Island office at 1679 Eagle Harbor Parkway, Suite D, second floor, will embark on a year-long study in the next couple weeks with hopes of identifying an effective vaccine to beat the coronavirus.

The office is staffed with 10 multi-specialty physician investigators from the Orange Park area.

“We know the vaccine causes your body to develop antibodies,” Smith said. “What we don’t know is how long the immunities last.”

Genetic code extracted from RNA of the virus is what's used to create the vaccine, Smith said.

“When the immune system attacks the genetic code, researchers hope to identify the effectiveness of antibodies that can preventing viral replication in the body.

In short, the injection is intended to trick the body into fighting a virus that doesn’t exist, with hopes of the body creating antibody markers that can help fight the disease.

The biggest obstacle for researchers is convincing volunteers the injection won’t develop into COVID-19.

“Fear,” Smith said. “You can’t get COVID-19 from the injection. How can you get this technology [to defeat the disease] if you don’t participate in a trial?”

There’s a demand for more Black volunteers since they catch the disease at a disproportionate rate than other races. “And they are under-represented in clinical trials,” Smith said.

The study at the Fleming Island Center for Clinical Research is be part of the second and third phase of study. There was considerable promise in a Phase 1 study for Moderna by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases revealed levels of binding antibodies significantly exceeded levels seen in recuperating sera in blood.

Smith said if the study proves the vaccine at the Fleming Island study has a less than 50% success rate, it won’t be recommended for use. There currently are 145 COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved for research and development.

Many volunteers are needed for research. All subjects will be tested for COVID-19 ahead of the study will compensate subjects for time and travel.

The same drug will be one of two that will be tested at ENCORE’s Jacksonville office at 4085 University Blvd, Suite 1.

For more information on the study, visit or call the Fleming Island office at (904) 621-0390.


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