University Hospitals to participate in COVID-19 vaccine trials in Cleveland

Posted at 10:37 AM, Aug 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-13 18:36:37-04

CLEVELAND — This week Russia announced the production and distribution of a vaccine against the coronavirus. Since then, many experts across America have questioned its effectiveness due to the rate in which scientists are working.

In Cleveland, though, Dr. Claudia Hoyen, the co-director for the infection control at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, said she impressed with the work being done.

"For me, it's breathtaking in terms of how quickly so many companies and scientists have come together and jointly put together their knowledge to move us further, faster together. So it's really very exciting," Dr. Hoyen said.

Currently, there are more than 135 COVID-19 vaccines in pre-clinical trials, nearly 30 in Phase 1, 11 in Phase 2 and 8 in Phase 3.

Phase 1 is when a low dose of the vaccine is administered to a small group of healthy people. This is where scientists are testing the vaccine for safety.

Phase 2 tests additional people to see how their bodies react to the vaccine.

Phase 3 then tests thousands of people and wait to see how many people become infected and compare that to the number of people who received a placebo. These trials determine if the vaccine can combat against COVID-19.

Dr. Hoyen said a vaccine being worked on by Pfizer is coming to Cleveland. The vaccine is currently in Phase 3 and needs to be tested on 30,000 people. She said UH is going to begin allowing people in Cleveland and in the surrounding areas, who are interested in testing the vaccine, to sign up for the trial.

"We'll be able to allow people in Cleveland to participate to find out how well the vaccine works," Dr. Hoyen said.

But she warned, though the vaccine is in Phase 3 of clinical trials, this does not ensure it will be approved.

"Once we do have a vaccine, we still need to make it. There are seven billion of us so it may be that we don't all get the same vaccine because Abott's going to want to manufacture theirs which is fine. Let's use whatever we can to keep as many people safe."

Dr. Hoyen said in the coming months another vaccine will also make its way to Cleveland for testing.

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