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3 Valley clinics taking part in Arizona COVID-19 vaccine trials

(Zhang Yuwei/Xinhua via AP)

PHOENIX — Three research clinics in the Valley and one in Tucson will be a part of the final phase of testing for a coronavirus vaccine that so far is proving to be effective.

The Hope Research Institute’s locations in Chandler, North Phoenix and Arcadia, along with Quality of Life Medical and Research Center in Tucson, will be among the 87 clinics nationwide conducting Phase III trials.

The experimental vaccine, known as mRNA-127, was developed by the National Institute of Health and Moderna. It’s expected to begin its key final testing phase on July 27 to see if it can truly protect against the coronavirus.

“The study will enroll approximately 30,000 subjects across all of the study locations in the United States, and we’re certainly hopeful that the citizens of Phoenix will help us fill up as many of those spots locally as possible,” said Dr. Nathan Alderson, president and CEO of Hope Research Institute.

A report published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine showed Phase I testing for the vaccine, which began in mid-March, showed positive immune results. Forty-five people were given the vaccine and all of them produced antibody levels comparable to those who had survived COVID-19.

The vaccine is currently in Phase II of testing. A cohort of younger adults, ages 18-55, and older adults, ages 55 years and older, were given the vaccine.

Participants for Phase III must be at least 18 years old and be at high risk of contracting the coronavirus. Adults with pre-existing medical conditions who are in stable condition can also participate. They will either be given the vaccine or a placebo.

“All participants will complete regular office visits and then conduct safety follow-up phone calls with our staff,” Alderson said. “The study is really designed to track patients for two years.”

He invites anyone who meets the requirements and is interested in participating to call the Hope Research Institute at 602-288-HOPE.

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