Kansas City patients and researchers were involved in AstraZeneca’s trial success

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center had reason to celebrate Monday morning.

AstraZeneca announced its two-dose COVID-19 vaccine was safe and provided 79% protection against sickness and 100% protection from hospitalization and death.

AstraZeneca said its experts also identified no safety concerns related to the vaccine, including a rare blood clot that was identified in Europe. Scientists found no increased risk of clots among the more than 20,000 people who got at least one dose of the AstraZeneca shot.

That’s what researchers at KU Medical Center hoped to hear. Dr. Mario Castro, Vice Chair for Clinical and Translational Research at the University of Kansas Medical Center, worked with Dr. Barbara Pahud, Research Director of Pediatrics Infectious Diseases at Children’s Mercy Hospital, to enroll more than 500 patients in the AstraZeneca trial.

“We think this is important use for the world,” Castro said. “This is the vaccine that is relatively easy to make, less expensive … and has no serious side effects.”

When asked during a Facebook Live with the University of Kansas Health System if they believed the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and if they’d give it to patients, both Castro and Pahud answered yes.

“Half of my friends are in the clinical trial. Some of them have already been unblinded because they were offered vaccination and I was very comfortable offering it to them,” Pahud said.

Pahud also said that she was a participant in the Johnson & Johnson trial and her daughter is enrolled in the Moderna trial.

Pahud did say she is a little biased toward the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“AstraZeneca’s going to be the vaccine that basically goes to save the world,” Pahud said. “There’s going to be massive production of this vaccine. As you can see it’s clearly effective, especially in elderly populations and in African Americans and Latinos so this vaccine is going to make a dent in the world.”

AstraZeneca is not approved for use in the U.S. yet, but the company is expected to apply for Emergency Use Authorization in the next few weeks.

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