NU students now eligible for compensated Moderna vaccine trial


Daily file illustration by Hank Yang

Faculty, staff and students across Northwestern are starting to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

Yunkyo Kim, Campus Editor

Northwestern students are now eligible to enroll in PreventCOVIDU, a project within a clinical vaccine trials network launched by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. NU is among 22 universities across the nation currently partaking in the study.

In addition to being enrolled at NU or another participating university, students can only qualify if they have no known history of SARS-CoV-2 infection and no significant medical conditions. Participants receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, which is currently not approved for sale in the United States but has been authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration.

The five-month compensated project seeks to examine whether vaccinated people can still be infected with SARS-CoV-2.

The study will attempt to determine if the vaccine works primarily by reducing symptoms, which would save vaccinated subjects but not curb ongoing viral transmission. In turn, asymptomatic infections could increase and even prolong the pandemic, a statement on PreventCOVID’s website claimed.

“The answer to this question can have an important impact on how soon we can get back to school, work and life,” the website said.

During the study period, participants will provide blood samples and complete questionnaires in addition to partaking in existing university testing programs and collecting daily nasal swabs. These samples will then be subject to genomic sequencing.

Individuals identified as “close contacts” by the participants will also be asked to provide information through questionnaires and administer daily nasal swabs for two weeks.

The study’s website says that researchers expect results later in 2021.

“With the U.S. having the highest number of infections and deaths from COVID-19 disease of any nation in the world,” the website said, “this study is vital to making informed public policy decisions in the coming year.”

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Twitter: @YunkyoMoonK

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