By CBSLA Staff

PASADENA (CBSLA) — A Kaiser Permanente research center in Pasadena began participating in a clinical trial for a potential vaccine against the coronavirus Wednesday.

Kaiser Permanente’s Department of Research & Evaluation is one of a few 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.

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The other sites participating in the phase 3 clinical trial are 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.”

Those who participate must be adult health plan members between 18 and 85 years old who are not pregnant or planning to become pregnant during the trial.

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During the randomized trial, 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.

Data will then be gathered about safety, immune response, and efficacy as required for regulatory review.

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)