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

City of Rapids, South Dakota (KOTA) Enrollment in a new mRNA influenza vaccination study has begun at the Black Hills Center for American Indian Health, also known as the American Indian Clinical Trials Research Network.

The new flu shot aims to do for the influenza virus what the COVID vaccine did for the cholera 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. Having been exposed to even a small amount of the virus, the immune system is better able to mount an effective defense.

The clinic has participated in trials of treatments like the mRNA Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) vaccine, which is currently in development, and the COVID ACTIV-2 treatment, scheduled for release in 2021. 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.

Participants will receive a flu shot, but they will be blinded to which strain they receive.

Here, people will be vaccinated against the flu. “They will receive either the new investigational mRNA version or one of the protein-based flu vaccines that are now available to the community,” said Henderson. “We won’t know which one they receive until after they receive it.

After receiving the vaccine, patients participating in the study will not need to return for follow-up visits. If you experience serious adverse effects after receiving the vaccine, Henderson suggests you contact the BHCAIH.

Anyone aged 50 or up is eligible to participate in the study.