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Upstate Medical University seeks participants for clinical trial of COVID-19 vaccine

By Eric Reinhardt (


Upstate Medical University on Wednesday said it is seeking people to participate in a clinical trial evaluating the “safety and performance” of a potential vaccine against COVID-19. (Photo credit:

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Upstate Medical University is seeking people to participate in a clinical trial evaluating the “safety and performance” of a potential vaccine against COVID-19.

Upstate is part of a national multi-center study to assess a potential vaccine, the medical school said in a Wednesday news release. No vaccines are currently available to prevent COVID-19, which has spread around the globe. The World Health Organization declared the virus a pandemic in March.

The efficacy study is a “randomized, placebo-controlled, observer-blind study,” meaning some individuals in the study will receive a placebo and others a vaccine candidate. The majority of the study team will have no knowledge of which individuals are receiving the placebo or vaccine candidate, Upstate said.

Dr. Stephen Thomas, chief of Upstate’s infectious disease division, said the decision to participate in such a trial is a “personal one,” but it has the “potential to benefit humanity.”

“Individuals who volunteer for this study will help advance our understanding of whether this vaccine has the potential to protect people and work toward ending the pandemic,” Thomas said.

Study visits will take place in the Clinical Research Unit of the Institute for Human Performance on the Upstate campus

Individuals interested in participating in the study, can call (315) 464-9869 or email for more information.

Eligibility and participation

To be eligible for the study, individuals must be in good health and between the ages of 18 to 85 and be able to make a two-year commitment to the study. Volunteers will be required to provide blood samples up to two years after receiving the vaccine/placebo. Individuals might be seen up to 10 times during the two-year study period. The two-year time frame for the study is “important to assess the safety and long-term immune response.”

Participants will be compensated and will not incur any expenses for their involvement in the study, Upstate said. People who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 are not eligible to participate in the study, the medical school added.

During their first two study visits, participants will receive the study vaccine or placebo injection. Researchers will also collect nasal swabs to test for COVID-19 during these times. During the other study visits to follow, researchers will take blood samples.

For seven days after receiving the placebo/study vaccine, participants will be required to complete a daily e-diary (smart-phone application) recording any specific reactions.




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