Rapid City clinic needs volunteers for a new mRNA Flu shot trial

A Rapid City clinic has been invited to participate in an mRNA flu vaccination study.
Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 7:40 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - The Black Hills Center for American Indian Health, also known as the American Indian Clinical Trials Research Network, is kicking off enrollment for a new mRNA influenza vaccination study.

The goal of the new flu shot is to replicate the process the COVID vaccine uses in order to fight the virus but in this case, it is with the influenza virus.

According to the BHCAIH president and CEO, Dr. Jeffery Henderson, the COVID mRNA vaccines work by giving the body instructions on how to make the S protein found on the surface of the virus. This then helps the body fight against it by having already exposed the immune system to a small amount of the virus.

The clinic has previously helped conduct studies for treatments such as the COVID ACTIV-2 treatment in 2021 and a current trial of the mRNA Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) vaccine. Henderson said this is one of the few instances that mRNA has been used in a vaccine with only three other instances of the mRNA approach used here in the US.

People who participate will get a flu vaccination but will not know which of the two they will be getting.

”Folks will get an influenza vaccination here. Although we won’t know which one, they will either get the new investigational mRNA version or they will get one of the protein-based flu vaccines that are currently on the market that you can go out and get in the community now,” said Henderson.

The study will not require the patient to come in for daily check-ups and once you get the vaccine you are free to go. Henderson does recommend that you call the BHCAIH if you feel any major side effects after getting the vaccine.

Enrollment for the study is not limited to any specific group of people but you must be 50 years or older.

If you are curious and want to participate you can call (605)939-3686 or you can visit the clinic at 717 Meade St. Suite 100 in Rapid City.