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500 San Antonians needed for latest COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial

It begins this month and is being conducted by UT Health San Antonio and its clinical partner, University Health.

SAN ANTONIO — As more coronavirus vaccine candidates vie to join Modern and Pfizer in helping the U.S. get immunized on a wide scale, yet another is set to begin Phase 3 trials in San Antonio and elsewhere. 

UT Health and University Health are running trials of the Novavax vaccine after, according to officials, the initial trials were met with success. 

"The vaccine candidate showed really promising responses. So that means peoples' bodies made appropriate antibodies and even made appropriate T-cell responses to use this vaccine candidate comparable to – and, actually, a little bit more – than the immunity that we've seen in people that have recovered from COVID-19," said Dr. Barbara Taylor, an associate professor of infectious diseases at UT Health San Antonio and infectious diseases clinician at University Health. 

She added that the vaccine's initial phases showed a good safety and side effect profile, with no participants getting a fever as a result. 

"Which I think makes it very exciting for healthcare providers to think about, not having to warn people about fevers or other and more severe systemic reactions," Taylor said. 

Novavax is seeking to enroll 30,000 volunteers at up to 110 sites in the U.S. and internationally. Locally, 500 participants are being sought for the Phase 3 trial. 

Specifically, researchers are looking for adults 18 and older, especially those who are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 as a result of age, race, ethnicity or medical conditions. They'll get a vaccine or placebo in two doses, 21 days apart, and will be followed for two years to find out how well the vaccine works long-term. 

"We know in communities of color they have more of an outside burden in the COVID-19 epidemic here in the United States," Taylor said. "So we want to make sure the COVID vaccine is working for those people in these communities against COVID-19."

One important note: The study is targeting anyone who won't be eligible for a vaccine in the next several months. To sign up, call (210)469-3206. You can also find out more at uthealthresearch.com.