UAB to start human trials of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — UAB will soon begin trials of a coronavirus vaccine in the Jefferson County area. The vaccine, manufactured by AstraZeneca will be given to over 30,000 Americans over the next few months.

This is one of a handful of vaccines UAB is testing. This vaccine’s trial is led by Oxford University. The vaccine has shown to create antibodies in patients at levels similar to those that have recovered from COVID-19.

At least 500 people will be enlisted in the trial in the Birmingham area. UAB will be focusing on finding candidates that are more at-risk for contracting the virus. “We’re actually interested in vaccinating people from nursing homes for instance, assisted living, people who work in distribution centers,” said Dr. Paul Goepfert.

AstraZeneca has received one billion dollars from the US in funding, securing 400 millions doses of the vaccine. Doctors want to see how AstraZeneca’s vaccine works with patients of different ages and health conditions. If successful, it will give hospitals much needed relief.

“Now we’ve consistently been seeing 10 new patients coming into the hospital each day. We have an overflow of admissions having out in the emergency department,” said Dr. Nathan Erdmann.

A European trial with over 1,000 volunteers shows the drug has been successful in creating antibodies in patients. “They’re already making enough vaccines to vaccinate millions of people in the United States, even though they don’t know if it’ll work, they’re just hoping it’ll work,” said Dr. Goepfert.

Both Goepfert and Erdman are clinicians and researchers in UAB’s division of infectious diseases, are part of the Alabama Vaccine Research Clinic, and are spearheading UAB’s involvement in vaccine research and trials during this pandemic.

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