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Participants paid up to $1,000 in new flu vaccine clinical trial launching in Myrtle Beach

WPDE Myrtle Beach/Florence 10/5/2022 Emma Parkhouse
Participants paid up to $1,000 in new flu vaccine clinical trial launching in Myrtle Beach
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As we are in the peak of flu season, some doctors have reached a peak point of research, as they're working to roll out an improved influenza vaccine.

Myrtle Beach is one of the first locations where Trial Management Associates is looking for people to participate in their clinical trial.

The current influenza vaccine injects an inactive piece of the flu virus into the body, essentially teaching a person's immune system to react and fight the virus.

Now, this new version of the flu vaccine includes messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA), which is the same ingredient used in vaccines to fight against COVID-19.

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Dr. Evan Lucas, the site pharmacist for TMA in Myrtle Beach and Wilmington, NC said mRNA technology has been around since the early 2000s.

"Instead of us having to give a piece of the flu virus, what it will do is it will say, 'okay, I'm gonna send instructions to your own cells and to the protein builders of the cell,'" said Lucas. 

He said COVID actually provided an opportunity to use this existing research and data when creating vaccines for the pandemic, and after seeing surprising, but successful results with COVID shots, Lucas said they then saw the opportunity to further utilize mRNA to improve current vaccines for other diseases, like the flu shot.

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"With flu, being able to see the same types of effects or the same types of results would be a really big win for the medical community. Be able to prevent long-term infection, be able to reduce hospitalizations, reduce risk of death and things; especially in our vulnerable populations like anyone that's elderly and may be at increased risk or complications from influenza," explained Lucas. 

Myrtle Beach and Wilmington are the two locations where TMA is launching the third phase of its clinical trial.

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Lucas said Myrtle Beach was selected because the area is healthy, vibrant and overall cares about health improvement.

"These are gonna be your largest study with thousands of patients and they are reasonable, they feel really good about the product at that point and about its safety and all those things," said Lucas. "They're just making sure it's continuing to do what it's supposed to do." 

Lucas said the end goal is to reinvent the wheel of an already existing vaccination to have longer periods of protection and to protect people against multiple strains of the flu.

If you haven't gotten your flu vaccine yet this year, TMA is currently looking for people who live in Myrtle Beach or Wilmington to participate in testing these vaccines.

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Dr. Lucas said it's important to note that everyone who takes part in the clinical trials will be given some sort of flu vaccination, so no matter what, you'll be given some level of protection against influenza this season.

If selected, you could be paid up to $1,000.

The trial will require one to four visits, depending on the trial. 

For more information on the trial or to submit your interest in participating you can reach out to TMA via email or by calling their office.

  • Email:
  • Phone: 910-247-4580
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