UNC and Duke seeking hundreds of volunteers in COVID-19 vaccine trials

Durham County News

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — As drug makers scramble to develop vaccines to fight COVID-19, local researchers are looking for volunteers to take part in vaccine trials.  

Both Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill are recruiting thousands of people to help them test potential coronavirus vaccines.  

Thomas Denny, the chief operating officer of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute, says the speed at which researchers are working to fight the coronavirus is unprecedented and necessary.

“We are in a war-like approach here. We need to come up with something change the trajectory of the infection rate,” he explained.  

Duke and UNC are both part of clinical trials to test potential coronavirus vaccines.  For that they need volunteers.  

“At UNC we are not sure how many we are going to enroll, but we are hoping to enroll between 500 to 1000,” said Cindy Gay, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at UNC.  

“We are doing a lot of outreach and engagement to try to reach the groups in our community that are being hardest hit by COVID,” she added.

UNC will take part in the Phase 3 trial of a vaccine developed by a company called Moderna working with the National Institutes of Health.  About 30,000 people across the country will participate in this phase of the trial. 

Duke is working with different drug makers and hopes to recruit 1,000 to 1,500 volunteers for its trials. Infectious disease experts say it’s important to have multiple trials at once.  

“There are going to be several vaccine studies over the next few months and all of us are hoping that they are all going to be effective,” said Gay.  

“Not every vaccine may be the best for one person or another,” added Denny. “Hopefully, at the end of the day, there will be a number of different tools in the toolbox of different types of vaccine.” 

If you’re interested in participating in Duke’s trials, you can call 919-668-0981. 

To participate in UNC’s trial you can visit: https://coronaviruspreventionnetwork.org/. Scroll to the bottom and select the ‘Volunteer Now’ button, and follow the prompts on the subsequent pages. When asked for ‘site code’, enter “CHNC” to indicate the research site in Chapel Hill. 

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