The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and UW Health began searching for roughly 2,000 participants for a Phase III clinical trial of a potential COVID-19 vaccine. 

According to UW Health and the SMPH, UW is one out of 100 sites partaking in the golden standard trial — a random, double-blinded and placebo-controlled trial — across the U.S. Nationwide, over 30,000 people are expected to participate. 

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Normally, vaccines take 10 to 15 years to develop. But under the current circumstances, regulators have accelerated production. Associate Professor of Anesthesiology at SMPH William Hartman is leading the trial according to the “Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.”

“It’s an honor for UW now to be able to contribute to the effort to find a vaccine, to do our part in helping bring the world back to normal,” Hartman said to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

Yesterday was the first day of the trial, where participants were injected in the shoulder with one of two vaccines —AstraZeneca’s developed vaccine or a placebo, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Two-thirds of the participants will receive the English drug company’s vaccine, while the other third will receive the placebo. Neither those administering the vaccine nor those being injected know if the placebo or the vaccine is being used.

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Twenty-nine days after the first vaccine is injected, enrollees will receive a second dose. Beyond initial treatment, participants will be monitored and tested periodically over the next two years for COVID-19 symptoms at no cost to them.

Qualified participants must be at least 18 years of age and physically healthy, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Anyone with prior COVID-19 infections may not participate in the trial. 

The Lancent, an academic review journal, recently revealed participants had strong immune responses in the first two phases of the trial. Hartman is hoping to recruit 250 participants a week over the next eight weeks.

Chief Clinical Research Officer at UW Health and SMPH Betsy Nugent said her entire team has been working hard on this clinical trial and “now Wisconsinites have an opportunity to be part of solving this crisis,” in a UW Health video published on Aug. 31.

Those interested in enrolling can reach out to [email protected] or call 608-262-8300.