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Clinical trial begins for new vaccine
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The University of Minnesota Medical School is set to begin a Phase 3 COVID-19 clinical trial that will test the safety of an investigational vaccine called NVX-CoV2373. The vaccine was created by U.S. biotechnology company Novavax, Inc.
The clinical trial will take place through the University of Minnesota’s clinical research units, enrolling participants over the next two to three months with follow-up over the next two years.
This clinical trial will include representation from diverse populations most vulnerable to COVID-19 and will be distributed across race/ethnicity, age, and those living with co-morbidities. Participants will randomly receive either the vaccine or a placebo in two doses, 21 days apart.
"Father of mRNA" now works on nasal spray vaccine
In 1995, Washington University cancer biologist Dr. David Curiel was the first person to publish proof of concept that mRNA could work as a vaccine. That research was the foundation for the breakthrough vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna.
Now the interim CEO of St. Louis-based biotech firm Precision Virologics, Curiel is working on a nasal spray vaccine that uses an adenovirus instead of mRNA.
Curiel told St. Louis Magazine, “At a time when reports were coming out quickly, we showed not only that intranasal worked, but that it accomplished sterilizing immunity. It eradicated the virus from all of the upper respiratory tract.”
A set of clinical trials coordinated in part by the University of Pittsburgh has found that blood thinners could help reduce the need for vital organ support and ventilation in patients hospitalized for COVID-19.
The clinical trials, co-led by Pitt physician-scientist Matthew D. Neal, the Roberta G. Simmons Associate Professor of Surgery, involved 300 hospitals across five continents. The trials were conducted with moderately ill patients who are not in intensive care and who did not receive organ support, such as mechanical ventilation, at trial enrollment.
It is normal procedure for patients hospitalized with COVID-19 to receive a low dose of a blood thinner to prevent blood clots, but the researchers set out to determine if increased doses could be beneficial to patients and become the standard of care.
Interim results bear out that full doses of blood thinners—in addition to being safe—were superior to the doses normally given to prevent blood clots in hospitalized patients.
Researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center are testing two new monoclonal antibody treatments for outpatients with COVID-19. This is in an effort to decrease hospitalizations and symptoms particularly in older people and in those with underlying conditions.
The principal investigator for the trials will be Mario Castro, MD, MPH, vice chair of clinical and translational research in the Department of Internal Medicine, and a pulmonologist at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. Castro told KU Medical Center News that, "These treatments may represent an opportunity to block the progression of the disease, which for some people has serious side effects, including lung fibrosis, strokes, heart failure, profound fatigue and long-term neurological damage."
Trials are open to those over 60 or those under 60 who are smokers or who have obesity, high blood pressure, active cancer, chronic lung disease, kidney or liver disease, or who are immunocompromised due to chronic illness or cancer treatments.
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