Researchers plan to launch a Phase 3 clinical trial early next month to study a vaccine developed by Cambridge, Mass.-based Moderna, UIC said today. Administered by the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, the trial aims to determine whether the vaccine—designed to help the body produce infection-fighting antibodies—effectively prevents COVID-19 or severe illness associated with the virus.
UIC expects to enroll about 1,000 of the roughly 30,000 individuals participating in the clinical trial nationwide. At least 40 percent of participants will be 65 and older, Dr. Richard Novak, the lead investigator of UIC’s clinical trial, said in a statement.
“We want to test this vaccine in people who are most at risk of experiencing complications and death due to the virus,” Novak said.
To conduct the study, some participants will get the vaccine and others will get a placebo, according to the statement. Researchers will monitor the subjects for two years, with weekly check-ins and COVID-19 testing if symptoms develop. Neither the participants nor the researchers will know who is in which group.
UIC said it’s expected to be the only Chicago-based site participating in the study of mRNA-1273, Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
In a separate statement last week, Moderna said it remains on track to deliver about 500 million doses per year, and possibly up to 1 billion doses per year, beginning in 2021.