COVID-19 Vaccine Trials Set to Begin in Missouri

Missouri’s Washington University School of Medicine and the St. Louis University Center for Vaccine Development are joining clinical trials organized by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The two universities are joining a national effort to test multiple vaccines against the new coronavirus, with plans to recruit 3,000 participants from across the region.

“We are excited that the St. Louis community will have this opportunity to participate in historic clinical trials aimed at helping to identify the most effective vaccines for preventing COVID-19,” said Dr. Rachel Presti, the medical director of the infectious diseases clinical research unit at Washington University.

The two universities are looking to enroll adults of various ages. They are specifically looking for older participants, who tend to be the hardest hit by the infection. They also want individuals at high risk, such as food service or hospital workers.

“We are deeply grateful for the support of the St. Louis community as we launch these trials, which represent our best hope to fight back against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Sharon Frey, clinical director of SLU’s Center for Vaccine Development and a lead investigator in the trial here.

Researchers from the universities say they are looking forward to collaborating on the new vaccine trials.

”We want to work together to be as efficient as possible, and to enroll hundreds of people. We don’t want to be competing with each other — it is going to slow things down,” said Frey. “It’s an opportunity to show what we can do if we work together, how it can help us find a way out of the pandemic.”

“We want to hear from you,” added Presti. “It’s an opportunity for us to band together and to be a part of the solution to a global pandemic.”

Missouri has been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19.  From Missouri being highlighted by Vice President Mike Pence after launching its partnership with Google to help health care providers connect with Missouri manufacturers and suppliers of personal protective equipment; to Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis announcing that it is launching a clinical trial to investigate the drug chloroquine to treat COVID-19; to Kansas City being chosen as the testing ground for an experimental coronavirus vaccine; Missouri is continuing to lead the way in fighting the pandemic.

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