SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio is now one of just a handful of U.S. cities contributing to specific research that could bring the world a COVID-19 vaccine.
The research is government-funded and part of Operation Warp Speed, which aims to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine by January 2021.
“This is a big deal. We’re going to test a vaccine, which is in earlier trials that have been published. It looks really good. God willing, it’s going to be the real deal and be a game-changer. Hopefully, we’ll all get our lives back, which we’re all looking forward to. Some people will get the placebo; some people will not,” said Dr. Sherwyn Schwartz.
Schwartz has worked with diabetics in San Antonio and South Texas for more than 40 years and is now the endocrine consultant for the Evolution Research Group. KSAT previously reported on Schwartz’s studies on people with fatty liver disease, which is rampant in South Texas and adversely affects the Latino community.
Schwartz has been fighting to bring the COVID-19 vaccine study to San Antonio, hoping the vaccine participants will be culturally representative of South Texas and the nation.
“We’ll take any ethnic group, of course, but we really want to help the people who have been hurt the most by this disease,” Schwartz said.
National research shows those hit hardest include Latino, African American, elderly and diabetic patients.
“Mexican Americans and African Americans get diabetes and its complications much more frequently than other racial groups,” Schwartz said.
He said Bexar County is 61% Latino, and 19% of them are over 55. He said 38% are obese, which is more than any other major county in Texas.
Still, Schwartz wants participants from all over South Texas, where COVID-19 has been rampant.
“Cameron and Hidalgo counties are being hurt more than San Antonio, even double and triple the amount,” he said.
Participants for the trails can have COVID antibodies, but they cannot be currently infected or showing symptoms.
Patients can also have health issues as long as they’re being managed.
“Stable with diabetes, heart disease, cancer, as long as you’re stable,” Schwartz said. “Come here, bring your family, as many people as you want. We’re going to rev up and hopefully see many dozens of people a day.”
Schwartz said he is thrilled and grateful to be a part of a trial that could eventually help people worldwide.
“It gives me goosebumps. It’s very important. I love San Antonio. I’ll do anything for this city, anything for South Texas. I want to help more people, and I want San Antonio to be part of the cure,” he said.
Participants must be older than 18 and will be compensated for their time and transportation.
If you have any questions about the study or want to participate, call (210) 791-0911.