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Volunteers needed for RSV adult vaccine trial in Norfolk

While COVID-19 is dominating headlines, another respiratory virus is gaining the national spotlight. That's because October is National RSV Awareness Month.

NORFOLK, Va. — Respiratory syncytial virus or RSV can lead to illness, typically in the colder months.

Generally, the symptoms are mild.

"The symptoms can be very similar to other respiratory viruses, like flu and COVID-19," said Dr. Mary Bailey, physician investigator with Alliance for Multispecialty Research in Norfolk.

RELATED: Is it COVID-19, RSV or the flu?

Just like the other viruses, certain groups are at higher risk. RSV can be more severe in babies and the elderly, according to the CDC.

"Can include acute bronchitis, can include pneumonia and can even be life threatening," said Dr. Bailey.

Across the globe and in Norfolk, RSV vaccine studies for adults are underway.

"To look for effectiveness, as well as to continue to monitor safety data associated with the vaccine," said Dr. Bailey.

She explained that other medical teams conducted Phases 1 and 2, which investigated vaccine safety data. 

RELATED: Doctors warn of respiratory virus affecting kids and adults

At this current stage, Phase 3, researchers are recruiting participant volunteers.

Those eligible include people at least 60 years old with chronic, stable medical conditions or none at all.

Dr. Bailey told 13NewsNow there's an extra emphasis on enrolling the 75+ age group.

"A portion of the participants will get the study vaccine. A portion would get what we call placebo," said Dr. Bailey. "Many of our participants, themselves, are excited about being a part of it."

Participants are monitored for about a year and a half with occasional lab work and check-ups.

The volunteers don't have to be locals. Some travel to Norfolk from as far as North Carolina.

If you think you'd be a good fit for this trial, you can call 757-627-7446 and ask to speak with a recruiting specialist.

AMR Norfolk is enrolling volunteers until November.