The race to find a COVID-19 vaccine runs through UMass Medical School in Worcester. Dozens of people are now enrolled in a trial there.
“I’m hoping it will be successful,” said Dr. Robert Finberg, chair and professor of medicine.
He is running that trial with Pfizer. Sixty patients are enrolled and Dr. Finberg is hoping that number doubles by next week. The pharmaceutical giant already has 23,000 volunteers around the world.
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“The goal is to inoculate about 30,000 people,” said Dr. Finberg.
It comes the same week U.S. health officials said a vaccine could be ready by November. Dr. Finberg is skeptical of the tight timeline.
“The three large trials that I know are 30,000 person trials and they haven’t enrolled them all yet and they’re usually two vaccines that are given a month apart,” he said. “So it seems optimistic to think we’d have data by then.”
Pfizer’s vaccine requires two shots which are given 21 days apart.
“You will find out after the second vaccine whether the patients have responded,” said Dr. Finberg.
The doctor said so far patients haven’t shown severe reactions.
On Thursday Pfizer’s CEO said they expect to know by the end of October whether the vaccine works or not.
Dr. Finberg remains hopeful and is glad UMass is playing a role in finding a solution.
“Many investigators have been involved in COVID-19 research so we view ourselves as a center and good things are happening,” he said.
People interested in taking part in the study can contact UMass Medical Center 508-856-5472 and for more information on the trial https://live.covidvaccinestudy.com