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Northwestern Medicine announced Monday that it would begin taking the names of people willing to participate in various clinical trials studying potential COVID-19 vaccines.
The COVID Prevention Trials Registry is a survey that interested individuals can fill out if they would like to be contacted in the future about joining a clinical trial, according to a news release published by Northwestern Medicine on Monday.
“We want to recruit participants in the Chicago area who are at risk for exposure to COVID-19 and who are potentially interested in participating in different studies for prevention of the infection,” the principle investigator of the registry, Karen Krueger said in the release.
Krueger is a physician with Northwestern and an infectious diseases instructor at Feinberg School of Medicine – the institution that will sponsor the clinical trials.
The first trial is expected to begin in August and will be conducted at Northwestern Medicine’s downtown Chicago campus, Lake Forest Hospital and Central DuPage Hospital, according to the release.
The August study will be a Phase 3 trial of the new COVID-19 vaccine candidate created by AstraZeneca PLC, a global biopharmaceutical company based in Cambridge, England.
According to a July 20 news release from AstraZeneca, the vaccine, AZD1222, returned positive results in Phase 1/2 of clinical trials, which were led by Oxford University. In the Oxford trial, the vaccine generated “robust immune responses” against COVID-19 in all participants, according to the release. This trial also found that the vaccine was safe and could be tolerated, showing some mild symptoms.
The trial included 1,077 healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 55. In 95% of participants, just one dose of the vaccine quadrupled their number of antibodies against COVID-19 after one month’s time. All of the participants experienced a T-cell response after receiving the vaccine, according to the press release. The full results of Phase 1/2 were published July 20 in The Lancet journal.
Now, Northwestern Medicine aims to recruit 5,000 local individuals to add their names to the COVID Prevention Trials Registry. Participants are asked to give some personal and health-related information and will be contacted once a study that is applicable to their “health profile” is ready to be conducted, according to the release.
Researchers are seeking anyone 18 years or older who works in a job that puts them at a higher risk of being exposed to COVID-19, such as health care workers, grocery store/retail employees or employees working in factories or public transportation. This at-risk group also would include anyone living in congregate living facilities such as nursing homes, according to the release.
Krueger said that it also is critical that the registry recruits people who are disproportionately affected by the virus such as people with underlying health conditions, older people and members of racial/ethnic minority groups such as African Americans, Native Americans and Latino people.
“We are casting a really wide net so we can make sure we have enough people identified and ready to go for upcoming studies,” Krueger said. “This is vital to individuals’ and community health during the coronavirus pandemic.”