Clinical trials for a potential COVID-19 vaccine are underway in Peoria.
At an event hosted virtually Wednesday by the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Peoria, praised the region for playing an important role in the research.
"Some people think that these clinical trials happen in San Francisco, or New York, or other big cities. But it's happening in Peoria, Illinois. And again, I don't think the public is aware of that," he said.
LaHood said the city's selection is a reflection of the medical personnel, research capabilities, and resources based in Peoria needed to successfully pull it off.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said three COVID-19 clinical trials are underway in the 18th Congressional District represented by LaHood, including two Peoria medical research facilities and a cancer treatment facility with several locations throughout central Illinois.
LaHood also said he supports taking steps to eliminate America's reliance on foreign countries for personal protective equipment (PPE).
LaHood said the U.S. has been at the mercy of China and other countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"And that was problematic," he said. "So looking forward, we are looking at how to remedy that vulnerability. A couple things are being looked at."
Those proposals include shifting pharmaceutical and PPE supply chains back to the U.S. by offering incentives to companies, and rolling out "Buy America" provisions.
LaHood said there is biparitsan support for producing more PPE on American soil, but policy changes will be needed.
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