ATLANTA — Emory University will be playing an integral role as the medical world rushes to produce a COVID-19 vaccine.
The school said in a release on Friday that its Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit (VTEU) would be participating in the first clinical trial testing for a vaccine for the novel coronavirus in the U.S.
The release said the Phase I study began March 16 in Washington, and that its goal is to "test whether the investigational vaccine is safe, and how much it stimulates the immune system."
"If the vaccine is found to be safe, future studies will examine whether it can prevent infection," the release added.
Emory said its principal investigator will be Dr. Evan Anderson, an associate professor at the Emory School of Medicine.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has caused substantial morbidity and mortality in the U.S. and worldwide along with causing massive social disruption," Anderson said. "The Emory VTEU is proud to contribute to enrolling people into this critical Phase I study evaluating the first vaccine candidate against COVID-19."
Dr. Nadine Rouphael, the Emory VTEU contact principal investigator in this trial, said a COVID-19 vaccine was "urgently needed."
"We are looking forward to being part of a nationwide effort to respond to the crisis," she said.
Emory's VTEU is one of eight national VTEUs that are at the forefront of vaccine development and testing sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
For more information about potentially applying to participate in this study, you or your doctor may visit the contact section of ClinicalTrials.gov.
The ClinicalTrials.gov site includes current information about clinical research for patients, their families and caregivers, health care professionals, and the public.
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