Syracuse hospital taking part in COVID-19 clinical trial

18 hours ago

Central New Yorkers could be among the thousands of individuals who will be part of a clinical trial for a potential vaccine against COVID-19. There are currently two studies underway as scientists across the world look for a vaccine that could slow the progress of the coronavirus pandemic.

Upstate Medical University in Syracuse is taking part in one clinical trial spearheaded jointly by drugmaker Pfizer and a German biotech company. Upstate’s Infectious Disease Chief Dr. Stephen Thomas said this is a late-stage human trial that will ultimately include up to 30,000 participants.

"Phase 3 trials focus not only on safety, but they are designed to tell us whether or not the vaccine does what it’s supposed to do, which in this case, is to protect people from COVID illness, in the event they are exposed to the virus.

Thomas said to be eligible for the two-year study, individuals must be in good health and between the ages of 18 to 85. Participants would be required to provide blood samples for up to two years after receiving the vaccine. People who have already had COVID-19 are not eligible.

Thomas said this research is moving at breakneck speed, and it could be ready for FDA approval later this year. He believes a widely distributed, effective vaccine, along with continued public health initiatives is the way to fight the pandemic.

"In combination it could be a significant one two punch against the pandemic," he said.

Anyone interested in participating in the study can email trials@upstate.edu or call 315-464-9869.