CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Local healthcare providers are looking for healthy, young women to participate in a new study that could help save babies' lives.
A new vaccine now in a trial by the team at Cincinnati Children's Hospital could help protect against a virus that is especially dangerous if it is transmitted from mother to baby.
When Kendall was first born, she had multiple complications, including liver failure. Her mother, Natalie Dotson said she had stopped growing in utero.
While in neonatal intensive care, Kendall had a lot of tests done.
"They did blood testing, and she also had what they call a petechiae rash, which is like a purplish kind of rash on the torso of a lot of these babies. She had that, and that is one of the first visual signs it could be this virus," said Dotson.
The virus is known to infectious disease researchers as CMV, or cytomegalovirus, a large DNA virus in the herpes family.
Dr. David Bernstein said his research shows most of us actually get infected with CMV at some point in our lives.
"But it's especially important when a pregnant woman gets infected because she passes a virus to her unborn fetus, and that can do irreparable damage," Dr. Bernstein said.
As Kendall's family knows, the virus can cause everything from learning problems to hearing loss, which is why Dr. Bernstein is conducting a new trial on a vaccine to protect against it.
The trial is open to young women between the ages of 16 and 35 who might be around children at home or at work. If you qualify for it, you are paid up to $2,300 for time and travel, and it requires about seven visits, as well as a few follow-up phone calls.
Volunteers like Chelsea Hoffmaster say it's a selfless way to help others and protect babies' lives.
"Three little shots and you can make a big difference," said Hoffmaster.
As for Dotson, her daughter is now 6 and is doing great. But Dotson is speaking up to give hope that other families might never know what hers has endured.
"And if there's anything I can do to advocate awareness or prevention through a vaccine, I absolutely want to do that," she said.
You cannot get the virus from the trial vaccine. The virus is transmitted with close contact, often with children. Hand-washing is your best defense.
To participate in the trial, call 513-636-7699. If you qualify for the study, you will be paid up to $2,300 for time and travel.
Results are expected within the next two years.