UIC Begins Clinical Trial on COVID-19 Vaccine

Aug. 25, 2020

The University of Illinois at Chicago began a clinical trial on Aug. 24 of a potential vaccine for COVID-19. Richard Novak, M.D., head of infectious diseases at University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System, is leading the study—spearheaded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

More than 8,000 people have already volunteered for the study. Researchers will enroll up to 1,000 people to test the effectiveness of the mRNA vaccine, developed by Massachusetts-based Moderna. The double-blind study divides participants into two groups:

  • About 500 people will receive the vaccine;   
  • A control group will receive a placebo drug.  

Both groups will receive two shots over a four-week period. Researchers will track the participants’ health for two years. UIC has capacity to administer shots to 20-40 people a day at various locations, including two sites at UIC and another at The University of Chicago.

The study will determine if people who get the vaccine have a lower chance of getting sick from the virus and if their outcomes are better after contracting COVID-19. Dr. Novak aims to study people of all races, especially high-risk individuals. “We want individuals in our trial to represent the many different community groups that live in Chicago.”

Learn more about the process and follow-up measures in UIC’s full statement.