KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City-based researcher Dr. John Ervin is leading a national vaccine trial in the Kansas City-area in an effort to stop Respiratory Syncytial Virus.
Ervin previously was the first to lead COVID-19 vaccine trials in the metro.
RSV is a highly contagious respiratory virus that transmits similarly to COVID-19 and causes cold-like symptoms.
Dr. Ervin said more than 14,000 older adults die of RSV infections every year in the United States.
While the virus is most deadly for babies and the elderly, Ervin said everyone would benefit from a vaccine, which has been decades in the making.
"It’ll have a tremendous effect on all of our health, not just the two ends of the age spectrum, but a lot of these respiratory infections we get during the winter months that we put up with," Ervin said.
Ervin said past trials have failed due to the virus mutating. Currently, he's conducting trials with three pharmaceutical companies: GSK, Sanofi and Johnson & Johnson.
He said so far, things are looking promising.
"I just reviewed a study that we are doing for publication, and it was dramatically effective which is amazing, amazingly good news," Ervin said.
At Children's Mercy Hospital, division director of Infectious Diseases Dr. Angela Myers said the number of kids with RSV has come down from a recent peak, but the hospital is still seeing quite a few cases.
"We have 24 kids in the hospital today with RSV so there’s still a decent amount of it out there," Myers said.
Ervin said people who volunteer for his trials receive a stipend every visit, but he finds the main reason they do it is to protect public health.
The trials last a year with the option of staying a second year, which Ervin said most volunteers decide to do.
Ervin said a vaccine would need to be found safe and effective in the adult group before starting trials in children.
To participate in Ervin's trial, volunteers must be 50 years-of-age or older.
Those interested can call 1-888-259-1231 or click here.