University of Iowa Health Care conducting large-scale clinical COVID-19 vaccine trial

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – A clinical trial for a potential COVID-19 vaccine is underway now at the University of Iowa, entering one of the last steps before it heads to the FDA for possible approval.

Worldwide, about 32,000 people are expected to participate in this specific trial. Locally, the University of Iowa only needs 250 participants. Researchers say they are looking for men and women between 18 and 85 years old. A lead researcher says it’s important to get a wide range of ages and races.

“If you look at where the COVID infections have really been concentrated, it has been in some of our under-represented communities,” Dr. Patricia Winokur said. “Certainly in Iowa, we’ve seen a number of people that are working in the meatpacking plants, which can be some of our immigrants and some of our Hispanic populations.”

The trial started last week, and so far, about 30 people have gotten the test vaccine. Half of the participants in the study will get the actual vaccine, while the other half will get a placebo.

“The goal is to see if we can see a difference in the rates of COVID infection in those that got active infection versus those that got the saltwater placebo,” Winokur said. “If we’re lucky and the vaccine works really well, we may be able to see that difference early.”

Winokur said, if all goes well, the vaccine could be approved by early next year.

“If we are lucky, and we have the data perhaps by the fall, which is what we’re hoping, the FDA will have to review that data and decided whether the vaccine is safe and effective enough for approval,” Winokur said.

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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