A breakthrough in work on COVID-19 vaccines as a Moderna candidate to be tested in phase 3 trials

7 Jul 2022

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A phase 3 clinical study will be coming to Chicago to test a COVID-19 vaccine candidate from biotech firm Moderna.

The candidate for the vaccine will be tested in Chicago Hospital at the University of Illinois. The hospital said the study is scheduled to begin on July 9.

ABC7 spoke about the study with Dr. Richard Novak.

"I'm both excited and stressed because this is a huge undertaking. It's a very large study, and it's growing very quickly," Dr. Novak said. "This is a great opportunity for us to participate in a, in a strategy or a trial rather that will eventually, hopefully will lead to a prevention method it will allow us to gradually get back to what we used to call normal."

UIC is the only site selected for the trial study in Chicago that is administered by the National Institute for Allergy and Infection Diseases.

"One of the reasons that we may have been included is because, well because of our experience with doing these studies and because... we've been successful in enrolling people of color and minorities," Dr. Novak said.

The candidate for the Moderna vaccine is based on RNA and aims to produce antibodies to 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."

Up to 30,000 people are enrolled in the trial, and about 1,000 are initially enrolled through UIC. Forty percent of participants in the trial will be over 65 years old.

"The study really is aimed at people who are likely to get clinically ill," Dr. Novak said. "If they get COVID-19. So it's going to aim at people over the age of 65, and people with some underlying chronic illness like high blood pressure, diabetes, because they're particularly at risk of getting sick if they contract the illness."

For two years, the test would track the citizens and see how long the vaccination may be successful.

"Well, right now we're taking names of people who are interested," Dr. Novak said. "We'll take their names now and then later we will contact them and evaluate whether or not they qualify for the study based on those restrictions for enrollment."

Novak said UIC needs to hire more staff quickly, and that this is the largest study he's been involved in. If the vaccine proves effective, this would be the last phase of the trial before the vaccine is quickly produced and distributed.

Source:  ABC 7 Chicago