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150 Northeast Ohioans, including University Hospitals president, help test Pfizer's COVID vaccine

"Glimmer of hope" in battling COVID-19
US agrees to purchase 100M doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine candidate for $1.95B, reports say
Posted at 5:14 PM, Nov 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-10 06:14:53-05

CLEVELAND — Nearly 44,000 people from around the globe rolled up their sleeves to potentially stop the spread of COVID-19, including about 150 participants from Northeast Ohio.

Pfizer announced Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine has been 90% effective in trials.

RELATED: Pfizer says its COVID-19 vaccine candidate is 90% effective

“This is really a big deal,” said Dr. Thad Stappenbeck, Cleveland Clinic Chairman of Inflammation and Immunity.

The company said in a press release that in Phase 3 trials, the vaccine efficacy rate is about 90% following the two-shot regimen.

“I think the most promising news is that they haven’t seen a single safety problem thus far,” said Stappenbeck.

University Hospitals is one of the sites worldwide taking part in the Pfizer clinical trial. Dr. Daniel Simon is one of the volunteers taking part at UH. He is also president of University Hospitals.

“I did it really to lead by example,” said Simon. “I don’t know if I got the real vaccine or a placebo,” he added.

The vaccine uses messenger RNA to trick cells into producing a protein that looks like the virus; the immune system learns to recognize and attack it.

“The COVID-19 virus has spike proteins on the surface. It uses the spike protein like a hook to latch onto cells and invade cells. So, by developing an antibody to the spike protein, you disable the virus,” explained Simon.

There are 65 COVID-19 drugs in clinical trials. University Hospitals is currently looking for volunteers. Those interested in participating in the AstraZeneca study at UH should call 216-844-4444 or email covid19research@UHhospitals.org for more information

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