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UCLA to Begin Phase 3 COVID-19 Vaccine Trial in L.A. County

To be eligible, a volunteer cannot have tested positive for COVID-19. – Courtesy photo by Prasesh Shiwakoti (Lomash) on Unsplash

Recruitment underway for 750 L.A. County volunteers

The Lundquist Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and UCLA Medical Center in Westwood will soon begin recruiting volunteers for phase 3 trials of a new investigational COVID-19 vaccine with the first dose expected to be administered in early September.  

The vaccine, developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, is called AZD1222 and has already gone through early trials. This trial is designed to determine whether the vaccine can prevent symptomatic COVID-19 after two doses. The study aims to enroll 30,000 volunteers across the United States. It is important to note that this vaccine does not have a live virus and cannot give a person COVID-19. If the results from the trial are positive, the vaccine could be made available to the public to prevent disease. 

“We are excited to work with the National Institutes of Health on this study to identify an effective and safe vaccine for COVID-19, particularly for those communities most impacted by this pandemic,” said Dr. Eric Daar, lead researcher for the Lindquist Institute on this trial, chief of HIV medicine at the Harbor UCLA Medical Center and professor at UCLA’s Geffen School of Medicine. “We are looking forward to engaging and talking with those who are interested in enrolling in the study—without the support from volunteers, identifying an effective vaccine won’t be possible. L.A. County has been hit hard by the virus; vaccines end pandemics, and it is our hope and goal that we can come together and help stop COVID-19 in L.A. and everywhere.” 

“This is a critical moment in time—we need a groundswell of turnout from those in the Los Angeles community to volunteer for this study,” said Dr. Raphael Landovitz, lead researcher for UCLA Medical Center in Westwood on this trial, and co-director at UCLA’s Center for HIV Identification, Prevention and Treatment Services. “In vaccine trials, it is extremely important that we don’t only focus on one population; at the same time, it is critical to enroll those who are highest risk of getting exposed, and also getting sick if exposed. Help Stop COVID L.A. is an opportunity for us to come together, to be a part of the solution, and to move forward together.”

Lundquist Institute and UCLA Medical Center in Westwood are part of the COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN). The clinical research network, supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of NIH, aims to enroll thousands of volunteers in large-scale clinical trials testing a variety of investigational vaccines and monoclonal antibodies intended to protect people from COVID-19.

Lundquist and UCLA Westwood are seeking to engage and recruit more than 750 volunteers who reside in Los Angeles County, primarily including individuals at high-risk for severe disease. This includes: 

  • Persons over 60 years of age.
  • Persons with preexisting medical conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. 

The data on communities that have been most impacted by COVID-19 is clear—across Los Angeles County and nationally, Black and Latinx communities have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. These groups are highly represented in Los Angeles and will be given every opportunity to participate in this important vaccine study because it is critical to enroll those who are at highest risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19.

To be eligible, a volunteer cannot have tested positive for COVID-19. Volunteers will be assigned at random to receive a placebo (saline injection) or the investigational vaccine. The trial is blinded, meaning the participants and the investigators will not know who receives the vaccine. Of the volunteers enrolled, two-thirds will get the study vaccine and one-third will get a placebo or harmless injection. This allows researchers to compare outcomes in the vaccine group versus the placebo group. In the two years that follow, researchers will monitor all study volunteers for the development of symptomatic COVID-19.

To find out more and sign up to volunteer please visit helpstopcovid.la.

August 26, 2020

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