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COVID-19 vaccine trial to take place at Indiana University School of Medicine — volunteers needed

It will allow up to 1,500 Hoosiers to volunteer to enroll in the trial of the coronavirus vaccine through the IU School of Medicine.
A volunteer is injected with either an experimental COVID-19 vaccine or a comparison shot as part of the first human trials in the U.K. to test a potential vaccine, led by Oxford University in England on April 25, 2020. (University of Oxford via AP)

INDIANAPOLIS — IU Health's University Hospital will be one of the first sites to take part in a COVID-19 vaccine trial. 

It will allow up to 1,500 Hoosiers to volunteer to enroll in the trial of the vaccine through the IU School of Medicine. This will be the only site in the state to test the vaccine.

That vaccine, AZD1222, was first developed by Oxford University in January and then licensed to biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for further development in April.

The IU study is part of Phase III clinical trials, the last required stage of study before the potential vaccine can be approved by the FDA for widespread public use. AZD1222 is one of only four vaccines in Phase III testing for the prevention of COVID-19 in the United States. 

“It is an extraordinary opportunity for the Indiana University School of Medicine to be selected as a participating site in this vital late-stage clinical trial and to help advance the testing of this extremely promising vaccine candidate in the fight to eradicate the COVID-19 disease,” said IU President Michael A. McRobbie. “This is collaboration and engagement of the kind in which Indiana University and its world-class School of Medicine have always been a leader. We are extremely proud that our leading medical experts are joining together with scientists across the country to contribute to this critical study and bringing us a step closer to eliminating this deadly disease.”

The volunteers for the trial will all be over the age of 18 and must not have had a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, but must be at an increased risk for contracting COVID-19, such as working in a school, store, warehouse or health care system.Those interested in participating in the study can sign up to receive updates by joining the All IN for Health volunteer registry. Up to 1,500 volunteers will be chosen within eight weeks when the site is activated in early September. 

Researchers plan to enroll a total of 30,000 participants at 81 different sites around the United States for the study.  

The vaccine works in two ways:

  • The T cells, which are white blood cells that can attack cells infected by the coronavirus, develop within 14 days of receiving thevaccination. 
  • The antibodies, which neutralize the coronavirus so that it can’t infect cells in the first place, develop within 28 days of receiving the vaccination.

Researchers say the strongest immune responses have been with people receiving two doses of the vaccine.  AstraZeneca’s plans to initially be able to provide at least 400 million doses, and the company said it has the capacity to expand that to 2 billion doses.  

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