The University of Illinois at Chicago Opens COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Trial

UIC opens the Chicago study of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, which will be distributed to 1000 participants over the next month. 

By Julia Kindelin

CHICAGO. Sept 18, 2020- Clinical trials for Modernas COVID-19 vaccine began at the University of Illinois at Chicago this August. UIC was the only university in Chicago chosen for the trial and will contribute to a nation-wide effort of developing a working vaccine. Vaccine development is essential to preventing the spread of COVID-19, and clinical trials are imperative to ensuring that the vaccine is safe and effective. The trial is led by Dr. Richard Novak, the head of the Division of Infectious Diseases at UI Health. 

“We are looking for two things really,” said Dr. Richard Novak. “One, we want to see if people who get the vaccine have a lower chance of getting sick from the virus compared to others — this would be game-changing. Two, for those people who still get sick from COVID-19, we want to see if those who received the vaccine have better outcomes. For example, if people with the vaccine have a lower chance of needing to be hospitalized when they do get sick, this would also be a really positive step forward and dramatically impact public health.”

The study will enroll 1000 participants, 500 will receive the vaccine and the other 500 will receive a placebo. The vaccine will be administered as a sequence of two shots over four weeks. The researchers nor the participants will know if they received the vaccine, to prevent bias or expectations from influencing the results. Each participant will meet with a research team member at one of three locations, followed by 6 in-person appointments, weekly phone check-ins as well as keeping an electronic diary. They will have their blood drawn and be tested for COVID-19 throughout the trial. These measures will be used to track the participants’ health and look for possible COVID-19 symptoms including fever, cough, sore throat, and body aches. The participants will be monitored for 2 years, but preliminary results may be available by December 2020.

About Moderna: Moderna is a biotech company located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Since their founding in 2010, they have been using mRNA technology to improve medicine.


Julia Kindelin

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