A vaccine aimed at preventing coronavirus infection in those most at risk will be tested on at least 1,000 people in Chicago in a new trial.
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago are set to conduct a clinical trial beginning next month using a vaccine developed by biotech company Moderna. The trial will look to determine the efficacy of the vaccine and will be the only site to conduct the trial in Chicago, the university said.
“We want to see if the vaccine will prevent people from getting COVID-19 or if it will prevent people from experiencing severe illness if they do get the disease,” Dr. Richard Novak, lead investigator of the clinical trial at UIC, said in a statement.
The study is set to begin July 9, with nearly half the people tested being 65 or older.
“We want to test this vaccine in people who are most at risk of experiencing complications and death due to the virus,” Novak said.
According to Novak, the clinical trial network hopes to enroll up to 30,000 people, with about 1,000 initially enrolled through UIC’s trial.
The test features an RNA-based vaccine, or one designed to help the body produce antibodies that protect against COVID-19.
“RNA vaccines represent a new class of vaccines that researchers hope will be more effective than other types,” Novak said. “The application of this type of innovation to COVID-19 is exciting, although the need for a vaccine of any type against COVID-19 is a pressing and urgent public health necessity.”
The trial will separate volunteers randomly into two groups, one of which will receive the vaccine, and the other, a control group, will receive a placebo. Neither the researchers nor the participants will know who gets the vaccine.
“This type of randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial is the best way to determine if the vaccine works. We hope that participants who receive the vaccine will have better protection against COVID-19,” Novak said.
He noted that volunteers will receive a stipend for their time but did not specify how much that stipend would be.
Anyone interested in volunteering should contact UIC researchers at (312) 413-5897 or email ProjectWishDOM@uic.edu.