The following chronicles the journey of UC Health’s role in the Moderna phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial, from the early days in August 2020 to present day.
9:00 a.m., Aug. 25, 2020 – Day 1 of the Vaccine Trial
It has been over five months since the new coronavirus made its way into our region. Since then, our lives have completely changed. People are wearing masks, social distancing and working remotely. Hospitals are strained responding to the needs of the community. Stadiums and movie theaters are empty. Restaurants with limited capacity. The world as we know it is no longer the same.
For the first time in a long time, however, there is hope. A vaccine study is underway at the University of Cincinnati (UC) and UC Health. Greater Cincinnati’s academic health system was recently selected as one of nearly 90 sites nationwide to host the phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial with Moderna, a pharmaceutical and biotechnology company based out of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Moderna is one of the organizations hoping to produce a safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine.
In partnership with UC, UC Health performs clinical trials to find new ways to treat unique diseases. Currently, UC Health’s investigational drug services team has around 275 ongoing studies. The clinical research team built the Moderna vaccine trial unit from the ground up. Once experts discovered the COVID-19 virus in Wuhan, China, UC Health’s researchers went to work, studying the disease to find potential ways to cure it. Carl J. Fichtenbaum, MD, UC Health infectious diseases physician and professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Internal Medicine at the UC College of Medicine, and Maggie Powers-Fletcher, PhD, assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Internal Medicine at the UC College of Medicine, co-lead UC and UC Health’s Moderna COVID-19 vaccine study.
“It’s very exciting that Cincinnati is part of this and that our citizens can be part of this, and that they can be the heroes and heroines of the COVID-19 pandemic by helping us to try and find an effective vaccine that will prevent this disease,” Dr. Fichtenbaum says.