16:53 PM

Ohio State Wexner Medical Center is part of national COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial

Experimental drug will be tested in 30,000 people at 80 centers across the U.S.

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center will be a site for a multicenter 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 showed the experimental vaccine is safe and prompts a strong immune response, producing both antibodies and T-cells, which find and attack virus cells.

The trial will enroll approximately 30,000 adult volunteers at 80 sites in the United States to evaluate how well the vaccine, called AZD1222, can protect people from COVID-19.

Ohio State researchers plan to recruit about 500 adults for the randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled trial. 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 Wexner Medical Center is at the forefront of the COVID-19 fight,” said Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson. “We have been and will continue to be part of the solution.”

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, said Dr. Rama Mallampalli, chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at Ohio State’s College of Medicine. 

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

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’s AIDS Clinical Trials Unit is a member of two of those NIAID-funded networks.

The vaccine uses a non-replicating chimpanzee adenovirus to deliver a SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to induce an immune response, according to the National Institutes of Health. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19.

“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 Wexner Medical Center and principal investigator of this study.

This requires an unprecedented amount of collaboration. Our top-notch and well-established infectious diseases staff works hard with pulmonologists, epidemiologists, other medical experts and the community to find ways to effectively treat and prevent this widespread disease. This is just one of many critical COVID-19 clinical trials happening at Ohio State, allowing us to treat patients at all stages of the disease.”

The study seeks volunteers who are at higher risk of exposure such as teachers, first responders, college students, factory workers, restaurant employees and those age 65 or older. More information about active COVID-19 clinical studies is available at https://www.coronaviruspreventionnetwork.org/understanding-clinical-studies/#active-studies

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