University of Michigan seeks volunteers for COVID-19 vaccine testing

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

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Metro Detroit is now the site of four COVID-19 vaccine trials. The latest is being conducted at the University of Michigan and involves a vaccine developed by Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

“The most important group isn’t the doctors, it’s the patients who are willing to participate,” said Dr. Daniel Kaul.

Sept. 2, 2020: Michigan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases up to 103,710; Death toll now at 6,509

The university said 30,000 volunteers will be needed to test the vaccine.

“Vaccines are probably our best way out of this mess,” Kaul said. “And there are a number of really promising candidates, but they have to be proven to be safe and they have to be proven to be effective and that’s what these phase three trials are designed to determine.”

The vaccine uses an inactivated form of a cold virus to deliver pieces of coronavirus into the body to trigger an immune response. Of the 30,000 volunteers, 20,000 will receive the actual vaccine while 10,000 will receive a placebo.

Participants need to be over the age of 18 and in good or stable health.

“We definitely want to have people participate who reflect the people in the community who are getting COVID and are getting sick with COVID,” Kaul said. “That’s older folks. That’s people from what are often under-represented minorities in clinical trials who have really suffered from COVID more, and we do want people whose situation puts them at risk for getting COVID, so essential workers.”

Researchers can’t participate in the trial, but Kaul said he would if he was allowed.

“Oh, I’d take it in a heartbeat,” Kaul said. “Maybe I can find another trial I’m not part of.”

Early trials found no serious side effects from the vaccine. It’s also being tested in the UK, India, Brazil and South Africa.

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

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