Everyone is waiting for the magic bullet, the Covid-19 vaccine, to bring some normalcy back to our lives. We all want to be able to get back to hugging our loved ones, inviting people over for celebrations, going out to dinner, shows, and sporting events. But for now, we’re in limbo trying to figure out the best way to stay safe, keeping our distance from loved ones, wearing our masks, and fearfully watching the number of cases and deaths rise every day.
But there are people who are doing more than trying to stay safe and waiting for this to be over. Some people are going above and beyond what the rest of us are doing. They are volunteering to be in clinical trials for the Covid-19 vaccine. They are our unsung heroes. These people are bravely letting their bodies be used by science to help all of mankind, in spite of the risks and the possible adverse reactions.
Amazingly, there are tens of thousands of volunteers. People from all walks of life, students, veterans, journalists, doctors, teachers, are all stepping up and becoming a part of history. Here’s what a few have said about why they volunteered:
“The reason I wanted to do it is because I think that developing a vaccine is probably the only way that we’re going to be able to go back to normal,” – Rachelle Kalik
“I have elderly grandparents myself, and I know they’re a high-risk factor of the population. So I’d love there to be a vaccine that could protect them,” – Benjamin Bruce
“I have a great grandfather who died in the Spanish flu in 1918 when he was only 23 years old. I put my trust in scientists to come up with solutions. I believe in experiments.” – Ian Haydon
One volunteer, who lost part of her leg after a car accident, wrote, “This would give me a chance to get my sense of self back, to help and protect others, especially my 1-year old daughter.”
Another mother said, “I’m older, 52, my kids are grown, and I feel like if I can help save people who are not in the same position then I should do it,”
This volunteer just linked to the World War I slogan “Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great War?”
“These clinical trials are moving at unprecedented speeds, as researchers try to accomplish in months what usually takes years. The FDA has issued more than 100 coronavirus-related Emergency Use Authorizations, allowing companies to fast track their work” in hopes of getting a working vaccine in the next 6-9 months. One example, some companies have been allowed to skip the usual process of testing their product on animals first and instead are going directly to Phase 1 testing on humans in clinical trials. Think about those volunteers.
It’s important to know that the volunteers are not injected with COVID-19 during the trials. Some are injected with genetically engineered RNA or DNA, some get harmless viruses that deliver coronavirus genes into cells, others get fragments of a coronavirus protein, while some get killed, or inactivated, versions of the whole coronavirus. There are 100’s of companies working day and night trying to figure out what works and none of this would be happening without clinical trial volunteers.
We know that the majority of the drugs tested in the clinical trials will fail, but the volunteers work will not be in vain. Every time a drug is ruled out, lessons are learned that help in the development of the vaccine that will work.
“We’re all starved for hope. But this isn’t magic. It’s science, which means protocols and phases and data to collect. There has to be room for trial and error. That’s part of what they’re learning from me.” – Ian Haydon, Phase 1, clinical trial volunteer
NIH is looking for 10,000 to 30,000 volunteers for each of their phase 3 clinical trials. That’s a lot of volunteers. That’s a lot of amazing, unselfish, unsung heroes. We all owe a huge THANK YOU to each and every one of them.
Is there someone who inspires you with their kindness? Nominate them for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Award of $250.
Do you have an act-of-kindness project you want to do but need help funding it? Submit your idea for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant of $250 and let us help you spread kindness.