SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Sacramento has been selected to participate in a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial that could lead to a widely available vaccine by the end of the year.
UC Davis Health announced Wednesday that it hopes to enroll as many as 200 people from the greater Sacramento metropolitan area in the clinical trial that involves roughly 30,000 people worldwide. The trial is in partnership Pfizer and BioNTech, who have developed a COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
The Sacramento area was selected, in part, because of UC Davis Health’s ability to reach minority communities quickly. Sacramento is the third most ethnically diverse city in America, according to U.S. News & World Report. Stockton is number one.
“We are uniquely positioned to help with a possible breakthrough due to our clinical trials expertise, ability to recruit for clinical trials quickly, and track record of outreach to minority communities,” said David Lubarsky, vice chancellor of human health sciences and chief executive officer for UC Davis Health.
UC Davis Health says ideal candidates for the study are those who are between 18 and 85, at risk of being infected with COVID-19 such as health care employees; restaurant and retail store employees who work around lots of people; and essential workers who spend a lot of time outside their homes.
People from ethnic and racial groups disproportionately affected by getting COVID-19, such as Latinos and Blacks, are especially encouraged to participate.
The research trial, known as a phase 2/3 study, seeks to determine the efficacy and side effects of a single nucleoside-modified messenger RNA (modRNA) candidate from their BNT162 mRNA-based vaccine program. The vaccine candidate has undergone rigorous evaluation in the United States and Germany and has previously shown significant positive results, according to UC Davis Health.
“UC Davis and our research group are pleased to be part of this global trial, which is a testament to our long history of working with our pharmaceutical partners to improve the lives of not only our patients, but people around the world,” Albertson said.
“Although there are a number of COVID-19 vaccine candidates worldwide, this one differs because it utilizes a novel modified mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid), which includes a piece of the genetic code of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,” Haczku said. “We are very excited, as this is the first time in history that mRNA-based vaccines are used against an infectious disease. Based on the promising results of preliminary trials, we expect to see protection of vaccinated individuals against COVID-19,” Haczku said.
The goal of the trial is to prevent COVID-19 in those who have not been infected by SARS-CoV-2 prior to immunization and preventing COVID-19 regardless of whether participants have previously been infected by SARS-CoV-2. The secondary goal is preventing severe COVID-19 in those groups.
If the vaccine candidate’s success continues, Pfizer and BioNTech have stated they are on track to seek regulatory review as early as October. If regulatory authorization or approval is obtained, the companies plan to supply up to 100 million doses by the end of 2020 and approximately 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.
You can find more information about the study and how to volunteer, here.