Rush University Medical Center is continuing to recruit participants for a clinical trial of a vaccine against COVID-19 developed by researchers at Oxford University and the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. The study is testing the vaccine’s safety, effectiveness and ability to produce an immune response for the prevention of COVID-19.
Researchers at Rush hope to enroll 500 people in the trial at the Medical Center, one site of a nationwide study of the vaccine. Since recruitment began, Rush has enrolled more than 90 participants, and most have received the first dose of the vaccine.
“This work is critical to ensuring any vaccine that is introduced into the marketplace is safe and effective,” said Dr. Beverly Sha, professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Internal Medicine at Rush Medical College, who leads the study at Rush.
To be eligible for the trial, potential participants cannot have a known history of COVID-19 infection; a medical condition that would make it difficult for them to complete multiple follow-up assessments during the two-year study; an impaired immune system; or be pregnant or breastfeeding. “We especially want to enroll those who are at a higher risk from COVID-19, including minorities and older adults, given the impact COVID-19 has had on these populations,” Sha said.
Multiple safe, effective vaccines will be needed to inoculate the world’s entire population and end the pandemic. The AstraZeneca vaccine’s progress through the clinical trial process is close behind vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna, which have applied to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization of their vaccines. The Pfizer vaccine is expected to receive this authorization from the FDA today or over the weekend.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the greatest health crises the world has ever faced. Rush is a part of the worldwide research effort to learn more about COVID-19, and vaccine trials are an important aspect of that research,” said Andrew Bean, PhD, dean of the Graduate College at Rush University and interim vice provost of research for Rush University. “There are numerous COVD-related research projects underway at Rush, and we are deeply proud to be on the cutting edge in the fight against this disease.”
More details about the trial can be found in this news release. Those who are interested in participating in the trial can email ID_Research_COVID19Vaccine@rush.edu or call (312) 563-1345 for more information.