The University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW Madison) has been selected as one of the first test sites in the country for the large Phase 3 AZD1222 clinical trial, investigating AstraZeneca’s experimental vaccine originally developed by the University of Oxford. Led by principal investigator Dr. William Hartman, the prominent midwestern university is targeting 1,600 participants with a need for inclusion of minority groups, such as African Americans and Hispanics as they have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The first volunteer at UW Madison to sign up for the investigational vaccine actually works there as an emergency medicine physician Dr. Jeff Pothof, who declared recently for local media that it’s his responsibility to give back and help contribute to beating COVID-19.
TrialSite has reported that the vaccine candidate under investigation for this critical Phase 3 study is the subject of growing chatter that it actually may be under consideration for emergency use authorization. Interestingly, TrialSite observed an unprecedented compression of timeline between estimated start date and primary completion date of 3.5 months for the investigation of AZD1222.
Recently, Madeline Anderson with Fox 6 News in Madison visited UW Hospital, one of the first of 100 trial sites that will test up to 30,000 people. Led by principal investigator anesthesiologist Dr. William Hartman, the university has a target of 1,600 participants, or about 5% of the total participants for the Phase 3 clinical trial—a significant contribution if the prominent institution can execute on its commitment.
The First Subject: Dr. Pothof
Dr. Jeff Pothof, an emergency medicine doctor, has signed up there in Madison to be the first volunteer for this critical study. Visited by Fox 6 News’ Ms. Anderson, Dr. Pothof expressed a deep commitment to the scientific and medical front against COVID-19, declaring, “I feel very excited that I can do my part to try to get us all a little closer to normal.” The UW emergency physician will receive two injections with AZD1222 over the next month as his colleagues at UW will monitor to determine if he develops the necessary antibodies.
He emphasized that he will be seen in follow-up visits several times and monitored over the next couple of years not only for signs of efficacy but also for safety signals.
University of Madison: A Research Powerhouse
TrialSite News has followed UW Madison research as it initiated a critical view of how to keep its dynamic edge moving forward. In a bid to drive innovation and excellence, the research center last year brought on board Elizabeth “Betsy” Nugent to take on the role of Chief Clinical Research Officer/Director of Clinical Trials Development and Accreditation at UW Health. Ms. Nugent spent nearly 24 years in various clinical trials leadership positions at Kaiser Permanente, one of America’s largest health systems.
By the end of 2019, the university reported that it continued to rank in the top 10 for national research with nearly $1.21 billion in annual expenditures for research across all fields, about half of which originates from federal awards.
Although UW Madison grew research expenditures by 1.3 percent from the previous year, TrialSite commended the UW Madison leadership there for embarking on a critical review of their research operations in a bid to revitalize and recharge it’s imperative to continuously improve not only research quality and lead in patient safety but also reinforce its position as front-runner in research productivity.
Call to Action: Based in the Madison, WI area? Consider participating in the AZD1222 clinical trial: the vaccine, considered to be one of the top contenders, is now under investigation in multiple countries and is considered to be one of the top experimental vaccine candidates.