Ascension St. John Hospital Clinical Trial - Learn More and Get Involved

Current opportunity to participate in a research study for adults at risk for coronavirus.


Thank you for your interest in participating in the research study for an investigational coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine at Ascension St. John. At this time, the study is at capacity and we are no longer enrolling participants. We are grateful for the response from the community and to all those who have volunteered to participate in the trial.


About the Study

Participate in a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine research study

Ascension St. John Hospital is conducting a research study for an investigational coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine. The study will evaluate the appropriate age-related dose, safety and effectiveness of the Inovio INO-4800 vaccine. This vaccine is administered by injection under the skin followed by a treatment to stimulate the immune response.

If you or someone you know may be interested, we are seeking healthy adults at high risk for COVID-19 to join the study. To qualify, participants must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Live or work in an environment with high risk of COVID-19
    • For example, health care workers, nursing home staff, first responders, hairdressers, service workers, factory workers, school teachers, those living in retirement communities, or those 51 years of age or older living in a multigenerational household
  • Have no known history of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.  
  • Be willing to participate in research study over a 13-month period.

As part of this study, participants must be available for appointments and phone calls over a 13-month period. The study will consist of 6 scheduled outpatient visits and 3 phone calls. If you develop coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, additional visits may be required. There is no cost to participate and financial support will be provided for participants’ time and travel. When an in-person appointment is required, we have strict precautions in place to help keep you safe while in our care and participating as a volunteer.

If you are interested in participating, please click below to select a time for a pre-screening phone call. You will then be directed to a questionnaire to see if you qualify to participate.

Contact us if you have any questions

If you have any questions regarding clinical trials or research opportunities, or if at any time you are concerned about or have questions about your rights as a volunteer research subject, please contact us at COVID19VaccineTrialDetroit@Ascension.org

Frequently Asked Questions Related to the Ascension St. John Hospital Clinical Trial

What is the purpose of this research study?
The reason for this study is to test a newly developed vaccine to see if it is safe and effective in protecting patients from coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

This vaccine is being developed and tested by a company called Inovio. You can find out more about this study on the ClinicalTrials.gov website.

How do I determine if I am a candidate for this research study?
If you are interested in participating in this research study, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be 18 years of age or older.
  • Live or work in an environment with high risk of COVID-19
    • For example, health care workers, nursing home staff, first responders, hairdressers, service workers, factory workers, school teachers, those living in retirement communities, or those 51 years of age or older living in a multigenerational household
  • Have no known history of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection
  • Be willing to participate in research study over a 13-month period

At what Ascension location(s) is this research study being conducted?
This research study will be conducted at the Ascension St. John Hospital campus in the Mack Office Building, Suite 380 located at 19251 Mack Ave. Suite 380, Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236

How many appointments are required as part of this study?
The study will consist of up to 6 outpatient visits and 3 phone calls for a period of 13 months. If you develop coronavirus symptoms, there may be additional visits. When an in-person appointment is required, we have strict precautions in place for your safety while in our care and participating as a volunteer.

How long will this study be conducted?
This research study will take place over the course of 13 months. In order to participate, you must be available for several scheduled outpatient appointments and phone calls.

What is required of participants in this study?
The study will consist of up to 6 outpatient visits and 3 phone calls for a period of 13 months. If you develop coronavirus symptoms, there may be additional visits. Participants will also be asked to complete an eDiary for seven days following each study vaccination, including the day of the vaccination. Blood, saliva, and urine samples will also be collected throughout the course of the study.

Frequently Asked Questions about Clinical Trials

What are clinical trials?
Clinical trials are research studies to investigate health and medical treatments and devices to see if they are effective and safe for use in people.

Clinical trial volunteers are watched closely by healthcare teams for side effects or negative effects from the treatment or medicine being tested. Volunteers should fully understand the risks and benefits of participating in the research.

Who can participate in research or clinical trials?
Researchers make rules for who can take part in the trial to help make sure it is as safe as possible for volunteers to participate. They also make the rules for those who can participate and those who can’t (or are excluded) so that the results are based on the treatment being studied and not other factors. Factors that may determine whether you can be in a trial include things like: age, previous disease, current health condition, or sex.

How do I decide whether to volunteer for a clinical trial?
Remember that clinical trials and research studies include unproven treatments and may not help you. Volunteering is a personal choice and may not be right for everyone. The results of research can help advance medical science by helping researchers better understand possible treatments and their safety and effectiveness.There is no cost to you to participate and financial support will be provided for participants’ time and travel. Capacity is limited.

What questions should I ask before I volunteer for a clinical trial?
You should start by educating yourself about the clinical trial to help figure out if this research study is right for you. Some questions to consider before you volunteer could be:

  • What is the reason for the study?
  • What are the eligibility requirements (rules for who can participate) for the trial?
  • Can I stop being in the study if I want to?
  • How long is this trial? How often will I have to come for visits? How will this affect my daily life?
  • Does everyone in the study get the active treatment?  Or, do some people get a placebo (a control substance with no active product included)?
  • Who is the doctor or healthcare team that will take care of my health during the trial or research? Can I see my own doctor during that time?
  • What are the risks, benefits and possible side effects?
  • What kinds of tests and procedures will I have during this research?
  • What happens if I get sick during the research study?
  • Will I have to pay anything to participate in this trial?
  • Do I get to have my personal results from the study?
  • Who is sponsoring the study?

Is it safe for me to participate in a clinical trial?
Clinical trials are strictly reviewed to make sure they are as safe as possible and that they follow rigorous scientific processes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must approve the conduct of research trials before they are started.  Also, an Institutional Review Board (IRB) (a group of people who reviews studies to make sure that human rights are protected) reviews the study throughout its course to protect the volunteers.

There are risks to volunteering for a clinical trial. The research team will explain the study to you and will  help you understand those risks before you decide whether to participate. Before you participate, you will also be asked to sign an informed consent form. This form gives you the information about the study and risks. You will be given the opportunity to ask questions before you decide if this study  is right for you. Your participation is completely voluntary.  After signing the informed consent you are eligible to participate in this study. If it becomes unsafe for you to stay in the study for any reason, the study doctor can stop your participation in the study at any time.

What happens to the information from the study?
The information from the study about you is private and kept confidential. Researchers must follow strict federal regulations, codes of ethics, and other standards throughout the entire research process. You will need to ask the research team what results can be shared with you and what information you can share about your participation.