Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center at 4867 Sunset Blvd.

Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center on Sunset Boulevard.

A Kaiser hospital in East Hollywood and a research center in Pasadena began participating in a clinical trial for a potential vaccine against the coronavirus today.

The Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center at 4867 Sunset Blvd. is one of four sites in California and Oregon in which approximately 1,400 people will be enrolled to test BNT162b2, one of the vaccine candidates in development by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech, which are also the sponsors of the study.

Kaiser Permanente's Department of Research & Evaluation in Pasadena is also participating in the phase 3 clinical trial, along with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, and the Division of Research in Oakland.

"This virus is a tremendous health threat and has affected the world profoundly both economically and socially," said Dr. William Towner, principal investigator for the trial at Kaiser's Pasadena site. "It is imperative that we find a safe and effective vaccine as quickly as possible."

Participants must be adult health plan members aged 18 to 85 who are not pregnant or planning to become pregnant during the trial.

The phase 3 trial is a randomized trial in which half of the participants will receive the vaccine and half will receive a placebo. Neither the participants nor the clinicians will know who is receiving the vaccine versus the placebo (known as a double-blind study). During this phase of the trial, data will be gathered about safety, immune response, and efficacy as required for regulatory review.

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