CEOs pledge safety for coronavirus vaccines as Phase III AstraZeneca trials begin in Chicago

Doctors are looking for a diverse group of volunteers

Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Vaccine update: Phase III AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trials begins in Chicago
New phase three COVID-19 vaccine trials will begin in Chicago this month, some as soon as next week.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- As work on the COVID-19 vaccine continues, nine CEO's have signed a historic pledge promising safety will be the top priority in the development of a vaccine.

Top executives of nine drugmakers likely to produce the first vaccines against the new coronavirus are promising they'll be safe and effective.

The drugmakers' chief executives say they'll maintain the highest ethical and scientific standards in testing and manufacturing their vaccines. They also say they'll make the well-being of those getting vaccinated their top priority.

The move is meant to boost public confidence. The announcement comes amid concerns the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will be under political pressure to approve a vaccine before tests to prove it is safe and effective are finished.

The pledge was signed by the CEOs of American drugmakers Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Moderna, Novavax and Pfizer, and European companies AstraZeneca, BioNTech, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi. BioNTech has partnered with Pfizer on one of the vaccines now in the final round of human testing.

Astrazeneca is part of the vaccine trial is at Rush Medical College.

New phase three COVID-19 vaccine trials will begin in Chicago this month, some as soon as next week.

Doctor Beverly Sha is an infectious disease physician with the department of internal medicine joined ABC7 Tuesday morning to provide insight on the vaccine.

The AstraZeneca vaccine uses DNA from the spike protein on the virus' surface to create an immune response and hopefully develop protective antibodies, Sha explained.

"It could worsen if we let our guard down," Sha said looking towards the fall.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.