COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials happening in Peoria

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine are happening right here in Peoria.

There are three separate organizations conducting the trials, searching for a cure or vaccine for COVID-19. Congressman Darin LaHood (IL-18) said the medical community in Illinois is a big reason our country will get through this pandemic

“We are a resourceful country, and this will pass,” LaHood said.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Discover and Deliver Campaign shows three organizations conducting clinical trials in Central Illinois. Those organizations are Optimal Research, Blade Therapeutics, and Illinois CancerCare.

This is part of the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed, which aims to deliver 300 million doses of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine by January 2021. Those interested can learn more about Operation Warp Speed here.

Frank Cullen with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said a challenge at the beginning of the pandemic was a lack of personal protective equipment.

“We’ve seen anything from counterfeit masks to counterfeit toilet paper during this pandemic,” Cullen said.

LaHood said a big reason the U.S. struggled to get PPE is that many of our supply chains were overseas in China. He said increasing telehealth has been a huge success in getting medical assistance across Central Illinois.

He said lawmakers need to turn our gaze to broadband and have the proper manufacturing of the vaccine.

“The digital divide that is out there, we have an obligation to invest,” LaHood said.

LaHood said he hopes the next stimulus bill gives tax credits and incentives to move supply chains back to the United States. LaHood is part of the House Ways and Means Committee. He said he’s looking at creating legislation to ensure those tax credits and incentives happen.

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