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Emory research contributions built path to COVID-19 vaccine

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Quinn Eastman

Emory researchers have been involved in testing all three of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use in the United States, along with others that may play important roles in the future. Below is a list of current vaccine clinical trials for the coronavirus at Emory.

Many of the trials were organized through the Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Consortium (IDCRC), based at Emory and chaired by David Stephens, MD, vice chair of research for the Woodruff Health Sciences Center and chair of Emory’s Department of Medicine.

The consortium is supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and includes infectious diseases leaders and clinical researchers from Emory University, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center and University of Cincinnati, FHI360, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Johns Hopkins University, Kaiser Health Care, New York University, Saint Louis University, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Rochester, University of Washington, and NIAID.

At Emory, several of the studies were conducted by the Hope Clinic of Emory Vaccine Center, which was established in 2002 in downtown Decatur, GA and in 2013 moved to a larger laboratory and clinical space near Emory Decatur Hospital.

The Hope Clinic conducts human research studies of public health importance, including research on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, Clostridium difficile,Staphylococcus aureus, seasonal and pandemic influenza, norovirus, Zika, human papilloma virus and Ebola. Research support for the Hope Clinic comes from the federal government, biomedical industry, the Georgia Research Alliance, university resources and philanthropic contributions. 

Moderna Phase I – March 2020

  • Investigators: Nadine Rouphael, Evan Anderson
  • Initial test of safety, tolerability and immune response of mRNA vaccine
  • Emory and Seattle only sites in country. Later expanded to focus on responses in older adults

Moderna Phase III – August 2020

  • Investigators: Nadine Rouphael, Evan Anderson, Colleen Kelley
  • Broader multi-center test of efficacy
  • Emory & especially Grady sites had high number of Black and Latinx participants

Johnson & Johnson ENSEMBLE – September 2020

  • Investigators: Evan Anderson, Sri Edupuganti
  • Broad multi-center test of efficacy for one-dose regimen

Novavax – December 2020

  • Investigator: Colleen Kelley
  • Protein-based vaccine. Does not require strenuous refrigeration like the mRNA vaccines

Sanofi Phase 2 -- February 2021

  • Investigator: Nadine Rouphael (national chair of protocol)
  • Another protein-based vaccine, customized against variants

Gritstone – March 2021

  • Investigator: Paulina Rebolledo
  • Next-generation vaccine, includes additional elements of the virus beyond spike protein

Moderna variant – March 2021

  • Investigator: Nadine Rouphael, Evan Anderson
  • Same technology as Moderna mRNA, customized to B1-351/beta variant

Moderna pediatric (“KidCOVE”) – April 2021, Pfizer pediatric – April 2021

  • Investigator: Evan Anderson
  • Ages 11 down to 6 months. Both studies include dose-finding and placebo-controlled stages

Delayed booster/mix + match – June 2021

  • Investigators: Christy Rostad, Sri Edupuganti
  • Examines immune response to current mRNA COVID-19 vaccines when used as boosters. Can follow previous immunization with other vaccines

MOMI-Vax – July 2021

  • Investigator: Martina Badell
  • Observational study of EUA vaccines when given during pregnancy or post-partum

More information about several of these studies is available from the IDCRC (Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Consortium). At Emory, you can check if a trial is recruiting and eligibility information here.

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