One year later: An update on the UW Health AstraZeneca trial
The clinical trial for the COVID-19 vaccine is ongoing.
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - On September 2, 2020, participants in Dane County became some of the very first to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr. Jeff Pothof, the Chief Quality Officer for UW Health, was one of them.
“It was impossible to predict all the twists and turns that would happen in the next 365 days,” said Pothof.
At the time, there was no vaccine approved for emergency-use authorization.
“I wanted to be part of that solution and I just feel good to be vaccinated,” said Dr. Pothof about signing up to be part of the vaccine trial.
He says most days he doesn’t think about the fact that he’s received a vaccine not yet approved for use in the U.S.
“It’s certainly not common to run into other people on the street that have an AstraZeneca vaccination card,” said Pothof. “But I’m not ashamed or try to hide that I was one of the trial participants for the clinical trial.”
Dr. William Hartman, the Principal Investigator UW Health’s AstraZeneca vaccine trial, says AstraZeneca is planning to apply for full approval from the FDA.
“I would anticipate going in 2022 it would be reviewed and it will be approved,” said Hartman.
He says there isn’t the same demand for another vaccine option.
“We have three other vaccines currently on the market,” explained Dr. Hartman. “Our supply issue is not a problem in the United States. There’s plenty of vaccines.”
At the half-way point of the clinical trial, participants are now undergoing a one-year follow-up. Researchers are taking blood samples, addressing any health concerns, and collecting other data for submission.
“These are answers that the world still needs moving forward with this vaccine,” said Dr. Hartman. “These are all very important trials that have a worldwide impact and all of them have roots right here in Madison.”
Across the country, over 35,000 people are enrolled in AstraZeneca clinical trials with 400 people taking part in Dane County.
Last winter, as other vaccines were approved for emergency use authorization, the one-third of the AstraZeneca trial participants who received the placebo were informed and give the option to get another vaccine for protection against the virus.
“These vaccines are nothing short of a man-on-the-moon moment. Never before have we been able to develop vaccines this quickly,” said Pothof. “It’s just cool to have even have played a tiny part in that.”
The UW Health AstraZeneca trial did undergo a brief pause last fall, but resumed again in October.
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