Local clinical trial for COVID-19 vaccine still looking for participants

Published: Aug. 10, 2020 at 4:59 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 12, 2020 at 4:59 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Update Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020: A local vaccine trial for AstraZeneca is still looking for participants, months after KU School of Medicine-Wichita announced the local involvement in the race to find a vaccine for COVID-19.

The KU School of Medicine in Wichita continues to sign up participants in its clinical trials for the vaccine developed by Oxford University and purchased by AstraZeneca. Participants are volunteering to take part in the two-year-long study. After filling out paperwork and going through a physical exam, participants either get the vaccine or a placebo.

If a participant receives the placebo during the trial, he/she will be eligible to receive the vaccine once it is approved.

“I know God’s with me. If he thinks I need the vaccine, I’m going to get the vaccine,” study participant Tammy Williams said. “It’s just a chance. I don’t have any job right now and I need the money, but you know, everything’s stacking up on top of everything. Plus (the trial) is going to help somebody else out.”

The vaccine being tested in the local study is available at the KU School of Medicine in Wichita, as well as a new mobile unit that will travel to high-risk areas of Wichita.

The mobile unit arrives the week of Thanksgiving. For those involved in the clinical trial, the process takes about two hours. Minor side effects from the injection include soreness where you get the shot, being tired, or developing a slight fever.

If you’re interested in participating in the clinical trial, call 316-293-1833.

Doctors are now looking for all adult ages (18 and older) and all ethnicities to volunteer.


Aug. 10, 2020:

KU School of Medicine-Wichita is looking for participants in a clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine, developed by Oxford University and purchased by AstraZeneca. To be eligible, you must be at least 18 years old.

The trial starts in late August in Wichita. KU School of Medicine-Wichita Center for Clinical Research Director Dr. Tiffany Schwasinger-Schmidt, one of the co-investigators of the trial, said they’re looking to test about 1,500 people in Kansas and Missouri.

“With this vaccine, our hope is that we can not only slow down the spread but potentially stop it,” Dr. Schwasinger-Schmidt said.

Slowing the spread of COVID-19 has been the main focus of doctors across the U.S. and beyond. But now, doctors at KU School of Medicine-Wichita hope to see this become a reality.

“Wichita and Kansas specifically have seen the effects from the COVID-19 virus,” Dr. Schwasinger-Schmidt said. “And we know that one of the best ways to stop the spread of this virus, as well as the devastating effects, is really going to be through prevention.”

She said the local effort is part of a nationwide clinical trial, which is going to be a randomized controlled trial. This means some people will get the vaccine and others will get a placebo.

“We’re targeting high-risk individuals because we want to know that this is effective, and we also want to make sure that it’s safe,” Dr. Schwasinger-Schmidt said.

Safety, she said, is the main concern.

“It’s very encouraging when they did the first initial clinical trial with 1,000 volunteers and we didn’t see any serious adverse events.”

The upcoming vaccine trial will be implemented over the next two years, but doctors hope good signs from the vaccine will allow them to slow the spread in the nearer future.

“Our hope is, and based on the early data that we have, we do believe that this can be an effective vaccine,” Dr. Schwasinger-Schmidt said. ‘And we think, like any vaccine for any virus that we’ve seen, this is really going to be the key.”

To be considered for the clinical trial and receive the vaccine, you can register at the Coronavirus Prevention Network website or call 316-293-1833.

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