UNC joins national effort to study allergic reactions to COVID mRNA vaccines

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- UNC School of Medicine has been chosen as one of 29 sites in the country to participate in a study to see if individuals are more likely to have serious adverse reactions to the mRNA vaccines against COVID-19.

The study, sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will look at three treatments: one Pfizer, one Moderna and the other is placebo.

"This really was a very rapid study development and process so as studies go this went really fast," said Dr. David Peden, principal investigator of the UNC site.

Peden is also the deputy director of the Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma and Lung Biology.

Participants randomized into one of the placebo groups will receive a placebo as a first dose and will get two doses of their assigned active vaccine at later visits.

Two-thirds of the volunteers will be classified as highly allergic or those who people have had life-threatening anaphylaxis in the last five years to just about anything (i.e., bee stings and food allergies).

The remaining third will be healthy volunteers -- that way researchers can find out if allergic people really have a higher risk.

UNC said it will be enlisting six volunteers a week in the next 8-12 weeks.

Throughout the country, there will be 3,400 participants.

"The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases decided it was important for us to understand if in fact, highly allergic people were at an increased risk and if so what was the biology behind that so might be able to identify those people and treat them," Dr. Peden said.

Volunteers can learn more and sign up to volunteer here or call the leady study coordinator Martha Almond at (919) 966-0759
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