Johnson & Johnson has resumed its COVID-19 vaccine trial in northwest Indiana nearly a month after the company paused the study. In northwest Indiana, the study is being coordinated through Buynak Clinical Research in Valparaiso. The clinic is currently looking for participants for the trial.
Dr. Robert Buynak, owner of the research clinic and study facilitator, said study pauses speak to the importance of safety in trials because of how much attention is paid to the effects medications could have on participants. He said the news of early positive results of other vaccines and treatments indicates that vaccine work is headed in the right direction.
“I’ve done a lot of research studies over the past 20 years, and it’s not uncommon for any study, whether it’s a diabetic study or any type of study, to have a pause in enrollment while they look at any issues,” Buynak said.
He said increasing COVID numbers in the Region also make vaccine clinical studies an option for those willing to go through the trial and who might not be able to get a vaccine in the first round of distribution.
“It’s going to be a long couple of months, I think, and I think we have some possible answers brewing here with these studies,” Buynak said.
Buynak said the study will continue as previously planned in northwest Indiana, with the focus remaining on reaching out to a diverse group of test participants. He said the clinic has been reaching internal goals of the number of participants they need for the trial.
“I think the only thing that’s changed is highlighting the need for it,” he said.
Buynak Clinical is working with the Federally Qualified Health Center, Healthlinc, to reach potential study participants from diverse populations across northwest Indiana.
Johnson & Johnson released a statement on Oct. 12 on the company's website, stating they would be pausing their COVID-19 vaccine trial after a participant fell ill. On Oct. 23, the company updated the statement to indicate they would start recruitment again for Phase 3 of its Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. The statement also said that a number of factors could have caused the illness, but none directly related to the vaccine.