New plant-based COVID vaccine being tested in Wilmington

COVID-19 vaccine (Photo: U.S. Air National Guard / Jacqueline Marshall)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A local health practice is conducting a trial for a new type of COVID-19 vaccine.

Trial Management Associates, LLC and Drs. Bart Williams and Will Jones of Wrightsville Family Practice in Wilmington are testing a new COVID-19 vaccine using plant-based technology and plant cells.

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The physician overseeing the trial, Bart Williams, MD, says, “The health and safety of our community continues to be the basis for our research. Finding safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines and having a community comfort level to actually receive the vaccine will be the main way we navigate out of this global pandemic. Some patients in our community are hesitant to receive the current COVID-19 vaccines approved by the FDA. We worked hard to secure this trial because the plant-based technology offers an alternative, and everyone who participates in the trial will ultimately receive the vaccine.”

“Plant-based technology uses virus-like particles that mimic coronavirus, but they don’t make you sick, and so these particles create an antibody response and ultimately leads to immunity from coronavirus,” TMA President Phil Dattilo said.

TMA is seeking more than 200 volunteers ages 18 year and older to participate in the study. The trial requires five in-office visits, and all patients will be compensated for their time and travel.

If anyone in Wilmington and the surrounding communities would like more information or sign up to participate, contact TMA at or call (910) 247-4580.