CHICAGO (CBS) — With a second surge of COVID-19 settling in, how close are we to a vaccine? Trials are underway at several Chicago hospitals.
The Moderna trial was fully enrolled as of Friday. At UIC doctors are well into giving the second dose of the vaccines and staying optimistic that they will be able to report on its effectiveness before the end of the year.
Bonnie Blue, 68, said she was hesitant to sign up for the UIC Moderna COVID-19 trial.
“I was having a conversation with God,” she said. “It’s like, ‘OK, it’s alright if you give me a sign that I shouldn’t do this.'”
Blue suffers from a very severe form of asthma.
“I have been on life support 13 times,” she said.
But it was a news story over the summer that helped change her mind.
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“Within a two-week period the number of newborns born with the virus doubled, and it’s like, no, you have to do something,” Blue said.
She’s one of about 430 participants between UIC and the University of Chicago enrolled in the study. She is doing her best to stock up on essentials, limiting her trips outside.
“They enrolled 30,000 people recognizing that only a small number of them would actually get the disease and of those only a small number would get symptomatic with it,” said Dr. Richard Novak, head of infectious diseases at UI Health.
Blue says she has had no complications so far and documents her body’s responses daily.
This trial is one of two, soon to be three, trials in the Chicago area.
Northwestern Medicine is home to a trial for vaccine being developed by Oxford University’s Jenner Institute in conjunction with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca.
UI Health also plans to participate in phase three trial of a Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the coming weeks.
When it comes to the Moderna trial, Dr. Novak says that at one point they had to slow enrollment because of a shortage of supplies, but they are currently on track to have information about its effectiveness by December.
“I’m excited that we’ve gotten this far in, but we’re not done,” Novak said.
“Everbody has a part to play in this pandemic,” Blue said. “It’s not just a me thing.”
The Food and Drug Administration authorized the restart of AstraZeneca trials on Friday after they were put on hold due to the possible illness in one of the participants. Monday Northwestern Medicine did not have an update on the status of their trial.