UR Medicine, RRH take part in trial for new Pfizer vaccine targeted at variant | WHEC.com

UR Medicine, RRH take part in trial for new Pfizer vaccine targeted at variant

Updated: May 03, 2021 12:30 PM
Created: May 03, 2021 08:15 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The University of Rochester Medical Center and Rochester Regional Health have teamed up again to take part in a COVID-19 vaccine trial, this time, it's targeted at a variant of the virus.

In a release Monday, both healthcare systems announced it joined two phase 3 clinical trials to test Pfizer's new BNT162b2SA vaccine, which mimics the genetic code of the South African variant. The vaccine will be tested as a booster and as a stand-alone vaccine. 

Researches say the variant carries two mutations that scientists think helps it resist existing vaccines and antibodies and make it easier to spread. 

The systems said seven local people who received two doses of the original Pfizer COVID vaccine in the previous trial were given a booster dose of either the original vaccine or the new vaccine. Participants will be followed to see if one vaccine provides better or longer-lasting immunity than the other.

The other trial explores how well the new vaccine protects people who have not yet been vaccinated. 300 unvaccinated adults across the U.S. – including 45 from the Rochester area took part. Unlike the previous trial, nobody was given a placebo.

Volunteers got two injections of the new vaccine three weeks apart. 

People who got the shot will report side effects following each shot as well as any COVID symptoms they experience over the next 18 months. Blood samples will also be collected to figure out how strong and long-lasting the immune responses are.

Researchers will also test to see if the antibodies from the volunteers effectively neutralize other variants of the virus.

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