COLUMBUS — The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center will be a test site for a multicenter, 30,000-person clinical trial testing an experimental COVID-19 vaccine in people.

The vaccine was co-developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, a biopharmaceutical company.

Results from a large early-stage clinical trial in the United Kingdom show the experimental vaccine is safe and prompts a strong immune response, producing both antibodies and T-cells, which find and attack virus cells.

“We’re thrilled that Ohio State can bring this COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial to central Ohio,” said Dr. Rama Mallampalli, chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. “Our hospitals and researchers are uniquely qualified to conduct these trials with the aim of saving lives in our community and beyond.”

Ohio State researchers plan to recruit about 500 adults for the randomized, double-blind and placebo controlled trial that will evaluate how well the vaccine, called AZD1222, can protect people from COVID-19. Study participants will receive either the experimental vaccine or a placebo, have blood samples drawn and follow up with medical experts over two years. The study seeks those at higher risk of exposure such as teachers, first responders, college students, factory workers, restaurant employees and those age 65 or older.

Results from this and other clinical trials being conducted through the COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN) are critical in getting a COVID-19 vaccine to market, Mallampalli said. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) created the CoVPN, using the infectious diseases expertise at four of its existing clinical trials networks. This has allowed CoVPN to work quickly, setting up COVID-19 clinical trials at sites with a long history of research and collaboration. Ohio State Wexner Medical Center’s AIDS Clinical Trials Unit is a member of two of those NIAID-funded networks.

“Time is of the essence to develop a vaccine and/or drugs that can halt the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and reduce the serious health effects and deaths caused by COVID-19,” said Dr. Susan Koletar, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and principal investigator of this study.

Those interested in volunteering for the AZD1222 clinical trial, can apply at https://www.coronaviruspreventionnetwork.org/understanding-clinical-studies/#active-studies

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