The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, has launched a new clinical trials network, the COVID-19 Prevention Trials Network (COVPN). The Clinical HIV Research Unit (CHRU) is now part of COVPN, which was established by merging four existing NIAID-funded clinical trials networks. CHRU is part of the NIAID-funded AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG).
The new network aims to enroll thousands of volunteers in large-scale clinical trials testing a variety of investigational vaccines and monoclonal antibodies intended to protect people from COVID-19.
Principal investigator at CHRU, Dr Sharlaa Badal Faesen, says that, “CHRU supports COVPN as it will centralise clinical research efforts into a single trials network thereby expanding the resources and expertise needed to efficiently identify safe and effective vaccines and other prevention strategies against COVID-19.
“At the moment many people’s lives are on hold as we wait to be able to return to ‘normal’. The COVID-19 virus is not going anywhere, with second waves of infection being seen across the globe. It is therefore imperative that we find a way to prevent the virus, particularly in our most vulnerable populations. Prevention of infection is the only way of safely and responsibly returning to normal,” she says.
COVPN is expected to operate more than 100 clinical trial sites across the world, including South Africa. The network has developed an extensive community engagement framework to reach out to potential research volunteers and explain the specific details involved in participating in a vaccine or monoclonal antibody clinical study.
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Our resource document on clinical trials can be found here.