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UM to Launch COVID-19 Vaccine Testing Site for the COVID-19 Prevention Trials Network

The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has been selected to be part of the National Institutes of Health COVID-19 Prevention Trials Network (CoVPN) to launch clinical trials to test investigational COVID-19 vaccines. 

Led by infectious diseases expert Susanne Doblecki-Lewis, M.D., M.S.P.H., associate professor of clinical medicine and alumna of the Master of Science in Public Health Program in the Department of Public Health Sciences, the initiative at the Miller School of Medicine is part of a large-scale study established by the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

“The COVID-19 pandemic is having a tremendous impact in South Florida and across the world,” said Dr. Doblecki-Lewis. “We are testing vaccines with the goal of finding a safe and effective way to halt the spread of the virus.”

The first Phase 3 clinical trial that the CoVPN will conduct will be to test the vaccine developed by NIAID scientists and their collaborators at the biotechnology company Moderna, Inc. The Miller School plans to enroll 1,000 volunteers in South Florida in that clinical trial, expected to begin this summer.

Prospective study volunteers will need to be 18 or older and can register to participate through an online registry. Using community outreach and mobile operations, Miller School clinical researchers plan to recruit young and older adults, including groups with existing co-morbidities.

“We are committed to engaging people who represent the range of residents impacted by COVID-19 in South Florida by gender, age, race, and ethnicity, as well as those who are particularly at risk because of medical conditions,” said Dr. Doblecki-Lewis. “This is how we will help ensure that any vaccine that is developed will be relevant for those who could benefit most from it.”

The Miller School of Medicine is a major research center for infectious diseases, particularly HIV and AIDS. The University’s affiliation with the HIV Vaccine Trials Network made it a natural location to test COVID-19 vaccines.

The new NIH-led COVID-19 Prevention Trials Network, which is spearheading the nation’s vaccine efforts, was established by merging four existing NIAID-funded clinical trials networks: the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), based in Seattle; the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN), based in Durham, N.C.; the Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Consortium (IDCRC), based in Atlanta; and the AIDS Clinical Trials Group, based in Los Angeles.

Written by Kai Hill
July 20, 2020