KU School of Medicine looking for participants in clinical trial for COVID-19 vaccine

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – The KU School of Medicine in Wichita is looking for participants in a clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine. To be eligible, you must be at least 18 years old.

The trial starts in late August in Wichita. KU School of Medicine Center of Clinical Research Director Dr. Tiffany Schwasinger-Schmidt, one of the directors of the trial, said they’re looking to test about 1,500 people in Wichita and the surrounding area. She said they’ve already started using the vaccine and it’s showing encouraging signs of slowing the spread of COVID-19.

“With this vaccine, our hope is that we can not only slow down the spread but potentially stop it,” Dr. Schwasinger-Schmidt said.

Slowing the spread of COVID-19 has been the main focus of doctors across the U.S. and beyond. But now, doctors at the KU School of Medicine hope to see this become a reality. It could start in Wichita.

“Wichita and Kansas specifically have had a lot of effects from the COVID-19 virus,” Dr. Schwasinger-Schmidt said. “And we know that one of the best ways to stop the spread of this virus, as well as the devastating effects, is really going to be through prevention.”

She said the local effort is part of a nationwide clinical trial, which is going to be a randomized controlled trial. This means some people will get the vaccine and others will get a placebo.

“We’re targeting high-risk individuals because we want to know that this is effective, and we also want to make sure that it’s safe,” Dr. Schwasinger-Schmidt said.

Safety, she said, is the main concern.

“That’s why we do these trials, kind of looking at the big effects because we know everybody’s body is different, everybody responds differently to medication, as well as vaccines,” Dr. Schwasinger-Schmidt said. “Like I said before, what’s very encouraging is when they did the initial clinical trials, and the first thousands volunteers that signed up for this, we didn’t see any serious adverse events.”

The upcoming vaccine trial will be implemented over the next two years, but doctors hope good signs from the vaccine will allow them to slow the spread in the nearer future.

“Our hope is, and based on the early data that we have, we do believe that this can be an effective vaccine,” Dr. Schwasinger-Schmidt said. ‘And we think, like any vaccine for any virus that we’ve seen, this is really going to be the key.”

To be considered for the clinical trial and receive the vaccine, you can register at the Coronavirus Prevention Network website or call 316-293-1833.

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