We need to find a way to protect health care workers

by | May 6, 2020 | System News

The Texas A&M University System News Release

Leading Texas A&M scientist and Chancellor John Sharp discuss clinical trial, potential cognitive damage caused by COVID-19

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – A Texas A&M University scientist is asking hundreds of health care workers in Texas to participate in a large-scale clinical trial that could lead to a treatment to combat  COVID-19.

In an interview that will appear on Thursday in several television markets across the state, Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp talked with Dr. Jeffrey Cirillo, a Regent’s Professor of Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology at the Texas A&M Health Science Center, about the clinical trial.

Dr. Cirillo is leading a national team that seeks to use an existing tuberculous vaccine, BCG, to boost the people’s immune systems against COVID-19. The treatment could be available to the public in as little as six months.

But to be successful, Dr. Cirillo needs about 700 participants in Texas for the Phase 4 trial. Initially, only medical professionals are eligible to take part because, as Dr. Cirillo says, “We need to find a way to protect health care workers.”

Any health care worker who is interested in participating in the trial as a subject in Houston, Dallas, Bryan/College Station and Temple/Round Rock/Austin, please click this link:
https://redcap.tamhsc.edu/surveys/?s=9YYJD9PA9F

The Texas A&M Health Science Center is leading a group of scientists and medical doctors from Harvard’s School of Public Health, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. MD Anderson is supplying the vaccine for use in the clinical trial.

The clinical trial also will include volunteers in Los Angeles and the Boston area.

Dr. Cirillo and Chancellor Sharp also spoke about the how COVID-19 could threaten people’s cognitive functions and how a vaccine could prevent brain-related problems.

Chancellor Sharp has allocated $2.5 million from the Chancellor’s Research Initiative to help Dr. Cirillo.

“Why are research universities here if not to better the lives of our fellow Texans and Americans?” the chancellor said.

Also on the show, Chancellor Sharp sat down with Greg Hartmann, chief operating officer and senior vice president of the Texas A&M Health Science Center, to talk about other efforts to fight COVID-19.

They touched on rural health, telemedicine, fast-tracking nursing students into the field and the innovation at the university’s EnMed program, where students earn M.D.s and a masters’ degrees in engineering.

This is the fifth in a special series of television shows called, “COVID-19: The Texas A&M System Responds.” Chancellor Sharp is interviewing scientists, researchers and other leading experts who are helping Texas and the nation fight the pandemic in a variety of ways.

The interview will air 7 p.m. Thursday on KAMU-TV in College Station and on other Texas public television affiliates. (Check local listings in Dallas, Austin, Waco and Amarillo.) It also will be available on the System’s YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/-becjrtS7u8

About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell
lcopelin@tamus.edu

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