MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Researchers with the University of Miami have taken the next step in the race to create a vaccine against the coronavirus.

They are now entering phase 3 of clinical trials of what they are calling the “Janssen vaccine.”

“With the availability of test vaccines, I feel very encouraged, enthusiastic and optimistic that we will overcome this pandemic soon,” said Dr. Dushyantha Jayaweera, professor of medicine and principal investigator for Janssen’s UM site.

Researchers say they need 1,500 volunteers, adding that they really need people of color to participate since those communities have been most severely impacted by COVID.

“It is I critically important that we enroll a very diverse population for the study,” said co-principal investigator Dr. Olveen Carrasquillo. “That way we can ensure that the vaccine will be equally effective for all groups.”

In this study, half the group will get the single-dose vaccine. The other half will get a placebo in order to determine if it works.

“You will get some protection, least a 50% chance,” Dr. Jayaweera said. “Plus you are contributing to the body of knowledge that will change the world.”

For those concerned about side effects, he says safety is a top priority.

“You are so carefully monitored that we do not allow anything to go wrong,” Dr. Jayaweera said.

The entire study will take place over the course of two years, but Jayaweera said they should have the results they need to determine if it works within six months.

Prospective study volunteers will need to be 18 or older.

For more information on UM’s Janssen vaccine trial, email Janssencovidvaccine@miami.edu or call (305) 243-0952.

To volunteer for the clinical trials, click here.

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