Texas plays a role in trials for the 3 COVID-19 vaccines showing promise so far

Coronavirus

AUSTIN (KXAN) — With an announcement from UK-based company AstraZeneca Monday, there are now three companies that have announced their COVID-19 vaccines have shown high effectiveness in late-stage trials.

As the AP noted, all three of these vaccines will need to be approved by regulators before they can be distributed. All three vaccines are also currently being tested out in clinical trials in Texas—and in Austin.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine showed 90% efficacy in clinical trials when given first as a half dose and then followed up with a full dose at least one month later. Last week, Moderna announced its COVID-19 vaccine candidate showed 94.5% efficacy in a trial.

Two weeks ago, Pfizer announced its COVID-19 vaccine candidate and provided an update last week from clinical trials that their vaccine was 95% effective against COVID-19 within 28 days after the first dose.

AstraZeneca

The newly announced clinical trial results from AstraZeneca came from the UK and Brazil. The company has clinical trials ongoing in other countries as well.

A spokesperson for AstraZeneca told KXAN in an email that there is “an ongoing 30,000 person Phase III trial in the US with over 100 trial sites across the country, including locations in Texas.”

Austin and San Antonio are among locations with trial sites, the spokesperson confirmed.

Last week, the Military Health System announced five military medical treatment facilities, including two in Texas, would be participating in Phase III clinical trial testing of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine as part of the federal Operation Warp Speed initiative. Those Texas locations are both in San Antonio: Brooke Army Medical Center and the Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center.

A release last week from 59th Medical Wing Public Affairs said these two San Antonio sites were chosen “based on their diverse and representative military beneficiary population and their geographic location of being in an area highly affected by COVID-19.”

San Antonio Military Health System aims to include a total of 1,000 participants from their area in the trial, which will run for two years.

Active duty military, retirees and family members 18 years of age or older can volunteer to participate in these trials.

Those who would like to be considered can reach out at both sites:

  • Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center (Site Code: WHASC) 
  • Brooke Army Medical Center (Site Code: BAMC) 

The Houston Chronicle also reported the University of Texas Health Science Center along with Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center have 17 participants participating in a trial for AstraZeneca as well.

Moderna

Moderna reports 30,000 people have enrolled in its COVID-19 vaccine Phase 3 study as of Oct. 22. A geographic distribution map for Phase 3 of this study shows Texas as the state with the most participants.

Demographic data for the Phase 3 COVE study on Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccination as of Oct. 21, 2020. The state of Texas appears to be heavily represented in this study with around 400 participants. (Image from Moderna)

Texas organizations Moderna lists as participating in its Phase 3 trial include: Advanced Clinical Research-Be Well MD in Cedar Park, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Benchmark Research in Austin, Benchmark Research in Fort Worth, Benchmark Research in San Angelo, Centex Studies in McAllen, Clinical Trials of Texas, Inc in San Antonio, DM Clinical Research in Tomball, DM Clinical Research -Texas Center for Drug Development in Houston, Global Medical Research-M3 Wake Research in Dallas, Laguna Clinical Research in Laredo, Tekton Research in Austin, and University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

KXAN has also spoken with participants in Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine trial in the Austin area, a trial which lasts 25 months. The participant we spoke with said the company told her they aimed to include more high-risk populations in the trial.

Benchmark Research, one of the companies helping to administer the Moderna vaccine trials in Austin, noted participants do receive free health care and checks from a physician during the studies. A representative from Benchmark told KXAN in late October that if Moderna’s trial continues without any interruptions, Moderna could apply for Emergency Use Authorization for the vaccine by mid-December.

Pfizer

As KXAN has previously reported, Austin Regional Clinic is part of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trial that includes at least 23,000 participants across the country. ARC planned to enroll 250 participants.

The Houston Chronicle reported The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston is a participant in the Pfizer trial and has enrolled 500 participants between three sites.

Pfizer also announced that Texas would be one of several states where it would pilot its new delivery system for COVID-19 vaccines, which is believed to include thermal coolers and dry ice to keep this vaccine at the ultra-cold temperature it requires.

Pfizer said Friday it is asking U.S. regulators to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine.


New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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