TrialSite recently reported on the University of Cape Towns (UCT) involvement in a few COVID-19 clinical trials, including the Oxford vaccine study (vaccine candidate ChAdOx1 nCoV-1). Wits University also got involved with the ChAdOx1 nCoV-1 study led by the University of Oxford. Led by the UCT Lung Institute at the University of Cape Town, the overall efficacy study has thus far enrolled 1,783 participants in the randomized controlled trial across South Africa. ChAdOx1 nCoV-1 has been rolled out to seven sites in total across South Africa. Keertan Dheda, the head professor for the Groote Schuur Hospital’s Pulmonary Division, reports that UCT has enrolled about 230 participants for the Oxford vaccine study.
The Vaccine: ChAdOx1 nCoV-1, aka AZD1222
TrialSite mentions this update as there has been speculation that it is exactly this vaccine candidate, ChAdOx1 nCoV-1 (also known as AstraZeneca’s AZD1222) that represents the target vaccine for an “October Surprise” by the U.S. White House. That is, this candidate has been identified as one that could potentially be bypassed due to performance in other trials. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) even emphasized that if the benefits outweigh the risks, an emergency use authorization before the end of the year is not out of the question.
Next Steps: Monitoring the Results
Professor Dheda reports, “What happens now is that there will be a follow-up period of roughly about one year. Investigators and investigating teams will look at how many cases of COVID-19 occurred in the vaccinated arm.” While Dr. Ali Esmail, pulmonologist and specialist physician overseeing the clinical trial unit for UCT Lung Institute, reports, “It starts from the requirement of participants, screening the participants and making sure that it is safe for them to make this trial. Finally testing them to make sure their lab results and nasal swabs are negative for COVID-19 and finally to vaccine them.” To date, Dr. Esmail reports some mild adverse reactions, “but nothing that has required hospitalization,” reported Kevin Brandt from Cape Town’s Eyewitness News.