Cincinnati Children's Hospital is seeking up to 90 adult volunteers to participate in a global clinical trial around a potential vaccine for the novel coronavirus that has sparked a worldwide pandemic.
The hospital is one of four sites in the U.S. participating in the trial to try and develop the vaccine. Children's will screen potential volunteers and begin administering the trial vaccine in the next two weeks.
That candidate vaccine is one of four involved in the global trial, which seeks to test each one's safety and effectiveness as well as the right dosage of each. Those vaccines, called BNT162, were developed via a joint effort from German company BioNTech SE and U.S.-based Pfizer-Inc.
Phase 1 and 2 testing of the BNT162 vaccines will take place in the U.S. at Cincinnati Children's, New York University's Grossman School of Medicine, the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the University of Rochester Medical Center. Testing has already begun at sites in Germany.
"We are excited about this vaccine and think it has the possibility to decrease the risk of infection from Covid-19,” Children's Division of Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Robert Frenck said in a statement. “Covid-19 is a virus to which people have not been previously exposed, so everyone is susceptible to getting the infection. While social distancing is effective, it is difficult to maintain long term.”
The first phase of the clinical trial will test the vaccine on up to 360 volunteers in the U.S. The first wave of testing will be performed on volunteers between the ages of 18 and 55. If tests prove the vaccine is safe for those individuals, trials will continue with older volunteers as well.
As many as 8,000 volunteers could be involved in Phase 2 of clinical testing.
Pfizer says it is poised to ramp up production of an approved vaccine when one is developed at sites in Massachusetts, Michigan and Missouri.
“With our unique and robust clinical study program underway, starting in Europe and now the U.S., we look forward to advancing quickly and collaboratively with our partners at BioNTech and regulatory authorities to bring a safe and efficacious vaccine to the patients who need it most," Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said in a news release. "The short, less than four-month timeframe in which we’ve been able to move from pre-clinical studies to human testing is extraordinary and further demonstrates our commitment to dedicating our best-in-class resources, from the lab to manufacturing and beyond, in the battle against COVID-19."
If you're interested in finding out if you qualify to volunteer for the clinical trial here in Cincinnati, you can email [email protected], fill out Children's trial screen questionnaire here or call 513-636-7699.