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Missouri University Leads the Way on COVID-19 Vaccine

Missouri’s health innovation talent is on the front lines of the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Researchers at Missouri’s Saint Louis University (SLU) Center for Vaccine Development, one of just nine elite Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units (VTEU) in the U.S., are putting their experience to work searching for a vaccine for the virus.

The Missouri team has been called on previously to help during other major outbreaks, including 2009’s H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic, and Zika in 2016.

“We refine practices and try to streamline so every time we can get better and faster,” said Dr. Daniel Hoft, Director of the Center for Vaccine Development. “It’s a work in progress but it’s worked pretty well so far.”

The time and process to develop vaccines differs from disease to disease, but in the most urgent scenarios, Missouri talent at SLU has been able to speed up the process.

SLU has been a VTEU since 1989. The designation allows it to conduct all four phases of vaccine and treatment trials that lead up to approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and includes clinical studies in collaboration with partners from the industry.

Cutting-edge biomedical research is taking place every day across Missouri, in world-renowned hospitals and innovation communities such as Cortex and the Missouri Innovation Center. With more than 40 Missouri colleges and universities offering bachelor’s degrees or higher in biological or biomedical sciences, there is no better place to find the world-class talent needed to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

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