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Upstate Medical University

Upstate seeks participants for clinical trial of COVID-19 vaccine

Upstate Medical University is seeking individuals to participate in a clinical trial evaluating the safety and performance of a potential vaccine against COVID-19. Upstate is part of a national multi-center study to assess a potential vaccine. Currently there are no vaccines available to prevent COVID-19 and the virus has spread across the world. The World Health Organization declared the virus a pandemic in March. 

More than 1,000 emails and calls from individuals interested in participating in the trial were received by the Institute for Global Health and Translational Science within the first 24 hours after Upstate's participation in the trial was announced. Already 75 individuals have been cleared to participate in the trial.

The efficacy study is a randomized, placebo-controlled, observer-blind study, meaning some individuals in the study will receive a placebo and others a vaccine candidate. The majority of the study team will have no knowledge of which individuals are receiving the placebo or vaccine candidate.

Stephen Thomas, MD, chief of Upstate’s Infectious Disease Division, said that while the decision to participate in such a trial is a personal one, it has the potential to benefit humanity.

“Individuals who volunteer for this study will help advance our understanding of whether this vaccine has the potential to protect people and work toward ending the pandemic,” he said.

To be eligible for the study, individuals must be in good health and between the ages of 18 to 85 and be able to make a two-year commitment to the study. Volunteers will be required to provide blood samples up to two years after receiving the vaccine/placebo. Individuals might be seen up to ten times during the two-year study period. The two-year time frame for the study is important to assess the safety and long-term immune response.

Individuals will be compensated for their participation and will not incur any expenses for participating in the study.

Individuals who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 are not eligible to participate in the study.

During their first two study visits, participants will receive the study vaccine or placebo injection. Nasal swabs to test for COVID-19 will also be collected during these times. During the other study visits to follow, blood samples will be taken.

For seven days after receiving the placebo/study vaccine, participants will be required to complete a daily e-diary (smart phone application) recording any specific reactions.

Study visits will take place in the Clinical Research Unit of the Institute for Human Performance on the Upstate campus

Individuals interested in participating in the study, can call 315-464-9869 or email [email protected] for more information.

The study at Upstate is being conducted by Upstate’s Institute for Global Health and Translational Science.