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Critically important COVID-19 vaccine trials are being held in San Antonio. Here’s why.

Episode 8 of KSAT Explains dives into the search for a COVID-19 vaccine.

SAN ANTONIOEditor’s note: This content was created exclusively for KSAT Explains, a new, weekly streaming show that dives deep into the biggest issues facing San Antonio and South Texas. Watch past episodes here and download the free KSAT-TV app to stay up on the latest.

Research is being done around the globe in the search for a COVID-19 vaccine. And some critically important clinical trials are happening here in San Antonio.

But what makes our city so well-positioned to host these trials?

A Strong Research Community

Heather Hanson, the president of BioMed SA, admits that a lot of people see San Antonio as a small place in the life science community. But Hanson is working to change that perception. BioMed SA is a nonprofit dedicated to growing and promoting San Antonio’s life science industry.

“We have such a strong research community as well as a top-notch hospital community, and we also have military medicine,” Hanson said. “We actually have a lot more components to the life science industry than most communities.”

Civic-Minded Residents

Dr. Larry Schlesinger, president and CEO of Texas Biomedical Research Institute, pointed to a unique civic-mindedness in San Antonio’s community members as another reason the city is in a good position to host clinical trials.

“People want to participate because they understand the good that will come from a vaccine that makes it to the market,” Schlesinger said.

High Rate of Comorbidities

It’s also the makeup of the people of San Antonio that makes our city so valuable. Vaccines must be tested on a variety of people who have a variety of health conditions. That includes health complications, or comorbidities. These complications include obesity, diabetes and hypertension.

“Our community, unfortunately, has all of that represented,” Schlesinger said. “It has been called the city of the future, because it actually is a melting pot for cultural diversity and health care disparities.”

Friendliness

Another reason San Antonio is a good choice for clinical studies? We’re friendly. The city has been named America’s friendliest city on past travel list. Apparently that attitude extends to local health care executives.

“Companies really look to collaborate with each other, to help each other,” Hanson said. “We really do work together here and help each other, which is very unique for our industry.

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