CHICAGO (CBS) — A big step towards a coronavirus vaccine developed in Chicago.
It’s day one of the phase three clinical trial for a Moderna vaccine at UIC.
CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports from the clinic where the first volunteers got their injections. Researchers could know how effective this vaccine is in just a matter of months, although the head of the trial said that would be warp speed timing.
But it’s a step forward and he said it’s already showing promising results.
Richard Novak is the head of infectious diseases at the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center. He’s also the head of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine trial, the only trial being conducted in the city so far.
“I’m very excited that we finally got to this point,” Novak said.
It’s phase three of the trial, which Dr. Novak said is the most important phase. It’s the one that determines if the injection actually works.
“We know from the phase one study that the immune responses are the right ones. The vaccine produces high levels of neutralizing antibodies which are antibodies that block the virus,” said Novak.
A thousand people will take part in UIC’s trial. Fifty percent of those patients will get a vaccine. The other half will get a placebo. Two people got the injections on Monday. Evanston resident Eduardo Rollox is one of them.
“I spoke to my personal physician and he was all in favor of me participating,” Rollox said. He, along with the others, will be monitored for two years.
“It’s part of the study. I’m willing to commit to that,” Rollox said.
Novak said gauging the vaccine’s effectiveness moving forward will depend on how widespread or virulent the virus is in the coming months. The goal is to track infection rates among participants to determine if those with the vaccine fared better than those with just the placebo.
Novak also stressed the vaccine does not give people the coronavirus, but it’s possible some who actually get the vaccine may have some other, short term symptoms.
And people are still being enrolled for this trial, focusing on recruiting people who are high risk and those in the Black and Latinx communities, which have been hit hard by COVID-19.