The lab conducting COVID-19 clinical trials in the Rio Grande Valley reached a milestone of more than 400 participants but is still in need of 1,000 more for the study.

In mid-July, Centex Studies Inc. — in partnership with Valley Medical Arts Clinic — began enrolling participants for phase 3 of clinical trials they are conducting COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Moderna.

In the McAllen area, Centex is responsible for enrolling about 1,800 patients of the 30,000 needed nationwide. The company announced Friday that locally they reached 400 patients so far.

“The people of McAllen have gone above and beyond our expectations,” Devora Torrence, president of Centex Studies, stated in a news release. “They are so willing to play any part they can in beating this thing, and we couldn’t be more grateful for their contributions to research.”

Of those who enroll in the study, half will receive the vaccine while the other half will receive a placebo. The study is double-blind meaning neither the participants nor the researchers know who gets which.

Each participant receives two doses, the first will be on day 1 of the study and the second will be on day 29.

People who qualify and choose to participate will be overseen by a medical team at no cost to them but instead will be compensated for study-related time and travel.

Those who would like to participate in the research studies or would like to get more information can visit www.centexstudies.com or call 281-918-0048.