Volunteers can now sign up to participate in Covid-19 vaccine clinical trials led by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, with the new operating center, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, saying Wednesday there would be 10,000 to 30,000 volunteers enrolled per trial.
The federal agency launched the website Covid-19 Prevention Network on Wednesday, merging four existing clinical trial networks and setting up an operation across over 100 different sites in the United States and internationally.
Interested individuals can fill out a survey on the site, which includes personal questions like “where you live, your job, your past and present health and contact information so that we can speak with you.”
“Community engagement, particularly with the communities most vulnerable to Covid-19’s severe outcomes, will be critical to the success of this research endeavor,” NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins said in a statement.
Additionally, participants are expected to visit research sites at least 10 times over the course of one or two years, making sure to monitor any symptoms that occur.
The first Phase 3 trial planned this summer will be for the vaccine co-developed by Moderna, with four other trials expected to startup in the next few months.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the goal is to be able to deliver “a safe, effective vaccine by January 2021.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease doctor, said Monday, “We hope that by end of this year, or the beginning of 2021 we will at least have an answer whether the vaccine or vaccines—plural—are safe and effective.”
Fauci, however, has recently expressed worry about any vaccine’s ultimate effectiveness given anti-vaccination sentiment in the U.S. On June 28, Fauci said that, while he would settle for a vaccine with 70% or 75% effectiveness, the country would be unlikely to reach herd immunity because of uninoculated carriers. “There is a general anti-science, anti-authority, anti-vaccine feeling among some people in this country—an alarmingly large percentage of people, relatively speaking.”
Covid-19 is currently spreading out of control through the U.S. following the easing of social distance restrictions. On Wednesday, the country hit a grim milestone, passing 3 million cases nationwide. The White House’s “Operation Warp Speed” program hopes to simultaneously confirm a vaccine’s efficacy while preparing millions of doses. On Tuesday, the federal government awarded a $1.6 billion contract to the company Novavax to test and manufacture 100 million doses of its potential vaccine by January 2021.