Second COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Launched by UCHealth

Medical supplies on a table at the Loveland study site of UCHealth’s northern Colorado COVID-19 vaccine trial. Photo courtesy of UCHealth.

UCHealth researchers are now recruiting participants in Northern Colorado for a study that will test a COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

The study is the second vaccine trial to launch at UCHealth and includes a total of 1,500 participants ages 18 and older who are at higher risk for exposure due to factors such as their work environments or habits. Occupations with work environments that put participants at higher risk include health care workers, teachers, first responders, or grocery store workers.

UCHealth registered nurse and research coordinator Stacie Kenny administers a shot to the first participant of UCHealth’s COVID-19 vaccine study being conducted in northern Colorado. Participants in the study will receive either a placebo vaccine or a vaccine developed by Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. Photo courtesy of UCHealth.

Those who qualify as participants for the study may also have stable health conditions that put them at risk of contracting COVID-19 or developing serious illness from the virus.

Dr. Gary Luckasen, MD, is a cardiologist and medical director of UCHealth’s clinical research program in northern Colorado. He is the principal investigator of UCHealth’s Phase 3 study of a new COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. Photo by Kelly Tracer, UCHealth.

“This will give us a large group of people who will receive the vaccine – or a placebo vaccine – to see if it’s truly effective over a few weeks, a few months and up to two years,” said Dr. Gary Luckasen, the principal investigator of the trial and medical director of UCHealth’s clinical research program in northern Colorado. “The size of the group is of major importance because we can get a lot of information about the virus, the vaccine, and how they interact,” Gary said.

Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca worked together to develop the vaccine. Results from the study’s initial phases show that most participants had neutralizing antibodies after taking one dose, and all participants had the antibodies after two doses.

Over 30,000 volunteers nationwide will participate in the trial and will be randomized to receive either the vaccine or a placebo once they are enrolled. The participants will be monitored over the course of two years to determine the safety of the vaccine and whether they contract COVID-19.

UCHealth registered nurse and research coordinator Stacie Kenny prepares a shot to be administered to the first participant of UCHealth’s COVID-19 vaccine study being conducted in northern Colorado. Participants in the study will receive either a placebo vaccine or a vaccine developed by Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. Photo courtesy of UCHealth.

“All of the vaccines are a little different than each other, so the trials that are being conducted around the world right now are key to determining what approach is going to work best in the fight against COVID-19,” said Dr. Diana Breyer, chief quality officer for UCHealth’s northern Colorado facilities. “To be selected to conduct this type of groundbreaking research is a true testament to the expertise of our research programs and our experience collaborating as a system and with our partners to push the boundaries of innovation to improve care and outcomes,” Diana said.

UCHealth’s clinical research program within Northern Colorado has been front and center for multiple medical trials over the past years, from assessing the latest devices created to repair ailing hearts to creating more efficient and effective ways to treat trauma patients and working together globally on efforts to better target and attack cancer.

“COVID-19 is affecting absolutely everyone right now, and everyone wants to get back to a more normal life,” said Gary. “If we are able to develop a successful vaccine, the quicker we do it is going to be better for everyone,” Gary said.


For more information regarding UCHealth or to check qualifications and participate in the second COVID-19 vaccine trial, visit: bit.ly/NoCoVaccineStudy