How Henry Ford Hospital played key role in Moderna vaccine study

More than 260K cases confirmed in Michigan

How Henry Ford Hospital played key role in Moderna vaccine study

DETROIT – News that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is nearly 95 percent effective has given hope that the pandemic will end sooner.

“We are manufacturing our vaccine now. So that we do have doses available in the month of December,” said Melanie Iverson, Ph.D., Chief Development Officer for Moderna.

That’s of course if the FDA approves the vaccine and authorizes emergency use. The Moderna trial has 89 sites across the U.S. The only one in Michigan was at Henry Ford Hospital.

Dr. Kellie MacFarlane is a general surgeon there and a participant in the study.

“To have diversity in the trial was really important to me to know that the results could be reflective and use for the community that I serve and live in,” said MacFarlane.

Thirty percent of the trial participants are people of color, communities hardest hit by COVID-19.

And Henry Ford Hospital enrolled a vast number of minority volunteers.

“What we’re seeing in all these vaccine trials is that we see good immune responses to the vaccination,” said Dr. Paul Kilgore, Henry Ford co-principal investigator in the vaccine trial.

About half the group was given the vaccine, the other half a placebo. The randomized study is double-blind, meaning the doctor and the participant don’t know which one is being administered. The data is then analyzed by independent committees.

“After we’re done getting the vaccine, within a few weeks, our bodies start to make that neutralizing antibody, it’s really critical to be protected against COVID-19,” said Kilgore.

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 264,576 as of Monday, including 8,049 deaths, state officials report.

Monday’s update represents 12,763 new cases and 55 additional deaths over the last two days.

How to track Michigan COVID-19 data

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Local 4 and ClickOnDetroit has been tracking the latest data to help better understand the situation across the state.

Our COVID-19 Data section tracks many of the key data points health officials are watching closely every single day.

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About the Authors:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism