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Ohio State Wexner Medical Center Joins COVID-19 Vaccine Trial

Ohio State Wexner Medical Center on March 30, 2020.
David Holm
Ohio State Wexner Medical Center on March 30, 2020.

Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center will participate in a clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine developed by researchers at the University of Oxford and the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

Ohio State’s researchers are looking for about 500 people to play a part in a 30,000-person clinical trial. Dr. Carlos Malvestutto says they’re hoping to enlist higher risk populations like people of color, the elderly and occupations like first responders and teachers.

“You know a trial is not so valuable if it only enrolls a very homogenous population that does not include those people who may be at highest risk," Malvestutto says.

Participants will receive the vaccine or a placebo and researchers will monitor them for the next two years. Although the study will continue for that timeframe, Malvestutto notes the vaccine could hit the market sooner if the results are positive.

“The study doesn’t have to be completed to already show whether it’s protective or not,” Malvestutto explains. “So we think that we could have at least some statistical signal of the level of protection much, much earlier than that. So really within a period of months.”

Prospective vaccine trial participants can sign up here. Meanwhile, Ohio State is continuing research on COVID-19 treatments like the Blaze-1 study, which measures the effectiveness of synthetic antibodies in fighting the disease.

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.