Henry Ford Health System seeks 30K volunteers for Moderna COVID-19 vaccine study

DETROIT – The Henry Ford Health System is seeking 30,000 volunteers to participate in its Moderna vaccine study to determine whether a two-dose vaccine could prevent COVID-19 infection in those who are exposed.

The National Institutes of Health officials said Henry Ford Health is the only hospital in Michigan selected as a trial site for phase three of the Moderna mRNA-1273 Coronavirus Efficacy (COVE) vaccine study.

“Henry Ford Health System is proud to be part of the fight against this deadly virus,” said Adnan Munkarah, executive vice president and chief clinical officer of Henry Ford Health System. “As one of the region’s major academic medical centers with more than $100 million in annual research funding, Henry Ford is involved in numerous COVID-19 efforts with partners around the world.”

The study’s first two phases, which included 600 participants, suggested that the vaccine is safe. The second phase showed that antibodies were produced, whereas phase three will determine whether it can protect against the virus.

The COVE vaccine study is made from a messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) genetic code that tells a cell how to produce protein. Health system officials said while the protein is thought to help the body’s immune system make antibodies to fight the virus, people may still become infected even when receiving the study’s two doses.

“Our best hope of controlling COVID-19 is with a vaccine,” said Dr. Marcus Zervos, division chief of Infectious Disease for Henry Ford Health System. “The Moderna vaccine seems to be very promising. In the initial studies that have been done so far, it looks to be safe and has produced protective antibodies at the level of a natural infection.”

About 90 healthcare systems are looking across the United States for the 30,000 participants, and the enrollment will close when the number of volunteers is reached. Participants must be 18 years old older who are not immune-compromised, pregnant, or planning to become pregnant as long as they have not had COVID-19 or another treatment.

Researchers are interested in recruiting:

  • Those at high risk of COVID-19 infection defined as adults whose locations or circumstances put them at greater risk of exposure to the virus responsible for COVID-19
  • Adults who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 based on the age of 65 years old or older
  • Adults who are at high risk due to pre-existing medical conditions that are stable at the time of screening

Volunteers will have a 50 percent chance of receiving the vaccine or a placebo, which is a saline solution that does contain a vaccine.

Anyone interested can visit www.henryford.com/ModernaVaccine.

“Each participant’s health and safety are our top priorities,” Munkarah said. “Your participation in this trial could help determine whether the vaccine can save lives.

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