University of Michigan to carry out phase 3 of COVID-19 vaccine trial

A potential COVID-19 vaccine enters phase three of testing in US

FILE - In this Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020 file photo, a patient receives an influenza vaccine in Mesquite, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero) (Lm Otero, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

ANN ARBOR, Mich.The University of Michigan is partnering with a pharmaceutical company to test a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine as the nation -- and world -- race to fight virus spread.

U-M’s academic medical center, Michigan Medicine, is working with AstraZeneca to carry out the third trial phase of a potential vaccine for COVID-19. AstraZeneca, a Cambridge, England-based company, announced Monday its vaccine candidate has entered the final testing stage in the U.S.

Michigan Medicine intends to recruit hundreds of participants to test the investigational vaccine, also known as AZD1222, for efficacy and safety, officials said.

“The importance of a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19 cannot be overstated. The AstraZeneca Phase III trial will bring answers as to the effectiveness of this vaccine. At the end of the day, this kind of rigorous clinical trial with the commitment of Michigan Medicine and other study sites to safety will be a key step in realizing a vaccine that will save lives when one is developed,” said Marschall Runge, M.D., Ph.D., Dean, U-M Medical School, Executive Vice President, Medical Affairs and CEO, Michigan Medicine.

Individuals interested in volunteering for the clinical trial must meet certain criteria, including no history of COVID-19 infection. You can learn more about participating in the study here.

Officials say the the first and second trials of the potential vaccine demonstrated increased antibody responses against COVID-19 with no serious adverse effects. The first two trials consisted of more than 1000 participants and were conducted earlier this year.

The University of Michigan is one of multiple U.S. sites testing the investigational vaccine against COVID-19. Officials say the phase three clinical trial is expected to include about 30,000 participants in total over the course of two years.

“We are proud to advance the University of Michigan’s outstanding legacy of excellence in vaccine trials with this important clinical trial partnership,” said Mark Schlissel, M.D., Ph.D., president of the University of Michigan. “We hope one day soon to be able to announce a successful vaccine against COVID-19 and save lives.”

AstraZeneca also plans to later test AZD1222 in other parts of the world, including in the U.K., Brazil, South Africa, Japan and Russia. The potential vaccine was invented by the University of Oxford and an associated company, Vaccitech.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine trial is being funded through a U.S. government initiative called Operation Warp Speed, which was created to accelerate the development of a vaccine that effectively prevents COVID-19 infection.

For more information, or to volunteer for the vaccine trial, click here.

Read more: Third virus vaccine reaches major hurdle: final US testing

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.