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LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 International Vaccine Trial To Include San Diegans

In this undated frame from video provided by the National Institute of Allerg...

Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Above: In this undated frame from video provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a scientist returns a novel coronavirus vaccine sample to a freezer in Bethesda, Md.

A COVID-19 vaccine trial sponsored by drugmaker Johnson & Johnson is slated to get underway soon in San Diego, and will include an estimated 2,000 participants at UC San Diego Health, it was announced Thursday.

Up to 60,000 participants will be recruited from 10 different countries around the world as the San Diego portion of the trial, dubbed ENSEMBLE, gets underway Oct. 7, according to UCSD.

The efficacy, safety and immunogenicity of the drug Ad.26-COV2.S will be tested via a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, in which half of the participants receive a single-dose injection of the vaccine and the other half receive a placebo. All participants — who must be 18 years of age or older and in reasonably good health — will be monitored for signs of infection and COVID-19 over the next two years, according to UCSD.

Researchers are particularly interested in recruiting participants at increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection due to where they live, their age or personal circumstances, such as working in essential jobs like first responders, health care, maintenance, construction, grocery stores or assisted living facilities.

The San Diego trial will also emphasize participation from the region's underserved communities, as communities of color have shown higher rates of COVID-19-related hospitalization and/or death.

UCSD cited data from the county showing measurably higher infection rates in the South Bay, including in Chula Vista, Imperial Beach and National City.

Susan Little, professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine and principal investigator of the UC San Diego trial, said, "Many communities of color are experiencing higher rates of hospitalization related to COVID-19 than are observed in white, non-Hispanic people. It is important that these communities are represented in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials so that we understand if the vaccine will work well within these groups."

For more information about participating in the trial at UC San Diego, go to covidvaccinesd.com or call (619) 742-0433

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