Meridian Clinical Research

Two Norfolk doctors are expected to oversee trials for COVID-19 vaccines.

Meridian Clinical Research — which has offices in Norfolk, Omaha and Dakota Dunes, South Dakota — is preparing to conduct clinical trials for investigational COVID-19 vaccines.

Dr. Keith Vrbicky and Dr. Charles Harper have worked with Meridian Clinical Research in the past and are being tapped to help once again, according to a release issued Monday by Meridian.

Vrbicky is expected to oversee at least one COVID-19 vaccine trial in Norfolk. Vrbicky has led clinical trials since 2013 and is a prominent principal investigator in vaccine and women’s health research.

Harper, who has been a principal investigator at Meridian since 2016, also is expected to lead a COVID-19 vaccine trial in Norfolk in the coming months.

The research studies will help determine the safety and efficacy of an investigational vaccine intended to protect against SARS-Cov-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Since 1999, Meridian has enrolled more than 42,000 patients into clinical trials and is a leading investigative site network for vaccine trials. In 2015, the company supported studies for the Ebola vaccine when the outbreak occurred and conducted research for Zika virus and anthrax vaccines in the past year.

To be eligible to participate in the study, participants must be age 18 or older, not have a history of SARS-Cov-2 infection and must not be pregnant or breastfeeding.

Eligible participants will receive compensation for participating and do not need health insurance to join. Anyone interested in joining a study may sign up for more information at mcrmed.com/covid or by calling Meridian at 402-934-7563.

In other news

Linda Hammond of the Tree Advisory Board presented one Norfolk business and two residences with the prestigious Green Leaf award at Monday night’s city council meeting.  

VERO BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Two newly hired physical education teachers at a Florida elementary school were arrested after the shooting of a man whose apartment they entered thinking it belonged to someone else following a night of drinking.

WASHIINGTON (AP) — Colin Powell, the barrier-breaking soldier and diplomat who served Democratic and Republican presidents in war and peace but whose sterling reputation was stained by his faulty claims to justify the U.S. war in Iraq, died Monday of COVID-19 complications. He was 84.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — American officials are working with Haitian authorities to try to secure the release of 12 adults and five children connected with a U.S.-based missionary group who were abducted over the weekend by a gang notorious for killings, kidnappings and extortion.