University of Chicago to study another COVID-19 vaccine, volunteers sought

University of Chicago researchers will study an experimental COVID-19 vaccine with a goal of enrolling 2,000 people.

The U. of C. effort is part of a 60,000-patient nationwide study of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, one of a number being pushed through testing at an accelerated pace with the help of the federal government.

The local researchers hope to enroll a mix of people representing different ages and races. They also want to include both healthy individuals and those with underlying health conditions who are at the greatest risk of complications from the coronavirus.

“We are looking for individuals from all walks of life to participate in this study,” said Dr. Habibul Ahsan, who will lead the research.

Dr. Ahsan said he’d like to aim for as much as 60 percent minority representation in the study. He also said obese individuals and people with high blood pressure or heart disease are examples of patients with other health issues that should be among those studied.

Volunteers must be 18 or older and from the Chicago area. Researchers will give some participants a single dose of vaccine while others will be given a solution with no treatment.

People interested in volunteering for the study, can register at https://www.ensemblestudy.com/#!/.

The trial is separate from a joint study the university is conducting with the University of Illinois at Chicago for another vaccine candidate made by the company Moderna.

Separately, UIC also is conducting human trials for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

State health officials on Monday said that total cases of the virus reached 423,502 and deaths totaled 9,810.

Brett Chase’s reporting on the environment and public health is made possible by a grant from The Chicago Community Trust.

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