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Ohio could soon be center stage in fight against COVID-19

Researchers at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center are currently running a clinical trial of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — In the ongoing fight to inoculate against COVID-19, Ohio could soon be on center stage.

There are already two approved vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer. Johnson and Johnson could be third in line with a vaccine.  The company has applied for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.

Ohio could figure into the future of vaccines against COVID-19 as early as March when biopharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca applies to the FDA for emergency use authorization of its vaccine.

Scientists at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center are in running a clinical trial of the drug.  Ohio State is one of 80 sites in Phase 3 of the clinical trial of AZD1222. 

The lead researcher at Ohio State, Dr. Susan Koletar, said that AstraZeneca’s focus on including diverse populations, could help in communities there is vaccine hesitancy.  

The trial includes a diverse population of near 50 percent, “It's really important to get information about whatever intervention from the people who are affected by it,” Dr. Koletar said.

RELATED: Ohio's COVID-19 vaccination program: Here's what you need to know

One central Ohio woman shared her experience as a participant in the study. Pat Iams said she believes helping researchers is part of the path toward protecting everyone from the novel coronavirus. 

Research participants get a two-shot regimen in the AstraZeneca trial.  Iams had both injections.

“I had a few mild symptoms after the second one,” she said. “They were mild they didn’t throw me off my game at all.” 

Iams, like every participant in the double blind, randomized, double-blind and placebo- controlled trial initially had no idea of her status in the trial. 

Participants will have blood samples drawn and follow up with researchers over two years and they'll also journal about the experience. 

Because Iams is in an age group approved by the Ohio Department of Health to receive the already approved vaccine, she was unblinded and learned that she in fact did not get an active vaccine on the trial. 

She has since received the first round of the Pfizer vaccine and plans to continue in the trial.

Vaccine Tracking: All this week on 10TV News  

  • What are the next steps in Ohio's vaccination program
  • Why some people are opting out of the shot and what it means for you
  • Where other vaccine trials stand
  • And medical experts will be available to take your questions

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