US Gov’t’s NIAID Launches Clinical Trials Network for COVID-19

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has established a new clinical trials network that aims to enroll thousands of volunteers in large-scale clinical trials to test a variety of investigational vaccines and monoclonal antibodies against COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Prevention Trials Network (COVPN) was established by merging four existing NIAID-funded clinical trials networks: (1) the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), based in Seattle, Washington; (2) the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN), based in Durham, North Carolina; (3) the Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Consortium (IDCRC) based in Atlanta, Georgia; and (4) the AIDS Clinical Trials Group based in Los Angeles, California. The NIH says those individual networks will continue to perform clinical trials for HIV vaccine and prevention and other infectious diseases in addition to their new COVID roles.

The COVPN is a functional unit of “Operation Warp Speed,” a partnership led by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to invest in and coordinate the development, manufacturing and distribution of COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines. The network will use a vaccine protocol developed by the Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV), a public–private partnership. The NIAID says the network is expected to operate more than 100 clinical trial sites across the US and internationally.

The first Phase III clinical trial that the COVPN is expected to conduct will involve testing the investigational mRNA-1273 vaccine, developed by NIAID scientists and their collaborators with Moderna, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines. That study is expected to begin this summer (summer 2020).

Source: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

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