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Positive results toward COVID-19 vaccine include clinical trial in Wichita

Published: Nov. 23, 2020 at 6:44 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - More positive news on the development of a COVID-19 vaccine brings us closer to what health experts say is key in getting past the pandemic. Encouraging results include a vaccine administered in a clinical trial in Wichita. Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca reports late-stage trials show its vaccine is up to 90 percent effective. Leaders of the trial at the KU School of Medicine want people representing all adult ages, ethnicities, exposures, and backgrounds to be apart of the trial.

The development of a vaccine comes with urgency as hospitals across the U.S. are strained, including the main hospitals in Wichita.

“Every day, (cases) are going higher. Our hospitals are seeing more and more hospitalizations and more visits,” said KU Center for Clinical Research Director Dr. Tiffany Schwasinger-Schmidt, leading the local vaccine trial for AstraZeneca. “So this is a way that we can really help the community and hopefully be able to stop the spread of this devastating disease.”

The clinical trial in Wichita is using the vaccine produced by the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and drugmaker AstraZeneca. Dr. Schwasinger-Schmidt described early data from the trial as “very promising.”

“What we can see from the data that we have is that this is working so far,” she said. “Now, again, we need the large numbers. So we’re really looking for 40,000 people across the United States at multiple sites to know that this is working for everyone and to know that this is safe and effective.”

Mobile units are available for people wanting to take part in the clinical trial. From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday (Nov. 24 and 25) and next Monday (Nov. 30), a unit will be at Dold Foods, LLC at 2929 N. Ohio and at the same times Dec. 1-4 at the Hunter Health Clinic at 527 N. Grove. Those organizing a mobile unit say it’s an easy screening process for those wanting to participate.

“(We) make sure that they meet all the criteria for the study and then take some lab specimens and give them the vaccination and we will observe them for a few minutes afterward,” said Trish Steele, a local site manager for the local vaccine trial of AstraZeneca.

Dr. Schwasinger-Schmidt said she considers anyone willing to participate in the studies heroic.

“Because they’re helping us to understand and make sure that this is effective and (can) stop this virus,” she said.

Leaders of the clinical trial in Wichita said two out of three participants receive the vaccine, while the third receives a placebo. They said they hope this will help to stop the spread of the virus in the community.

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