COVID-19 vaccine: U of C begins trials for Janssen Pharmaceuticals coronavirus vaccine candidate

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A new COVID-19 vaccine trial is underway and University of Chicago Medicine and those developing the vaccine say they're looking for a diverse pool of patients.

Starting Tuesday, participants will get one shot of Janssen Pharmaceuticals Ensemble COVID-19 vaccine or a placebo as part of a nationwide 60,000 participant effort to nail down a therapeutic to end the pandemic.

"About 60% of UChicago patients are minority participants and we would really like to hope that we can secure that type of representation," said Dr. Habibul Ahsan, U of C principal investigator for Janssen trial.

The new study comes amid a resurgence of the disease and UChicago Medicine clinical trials wrapping for the vaccine candidate from Moderna. The school's lead investigator on that one thinks a safe vaccine can be presented to the FDA in early December for further evaluation.

"So we have wrapped up the Moderna trial with 30,000 enrolled and we're hoping to have results on that sometime in December" said Dr. Kathleen Mullane, DO, PharmD, principal investigator, Moderna trial

Two thousand volunteers will be part of the Janssen study. Researchers especially want to enroll those most likely to be exposed to COVID-19 through their jobs, as well as seniors - first those with no other health problems, and then the more vulnerable.

"These are hard studies to do and I think all of us want to make sure that they are safe more than anything before the vaccines are approved and there is a lot of monitoring for the patients that are involved," Dr. Mullane.

Individuals can join the Janssen study by registering with UChicago Medicine online.

Rush University Medical Center and University of Illinois at Chicago will also be holding trials for the Janssen vaccine.

Another COVID-19 vaccine trial involving three Chicago hospitals is back up and running.

Astra Zeneca officials telling ABC7 the trial has resumed after a pause due to patient safety reasons.

Northwestern, Rush and Cook County Hospitals are all taking part.
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