Hundreds of Stony Brook University students are part of a national study involving the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to see how effective it is against preventing spread of the disease to others.
Twenty university campuses nationwide, including Stony Brook University, are involved in the COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN) study. During the coming months, the study will enroll 12,000 students. Half of the students will receive the vaccine upon their enrollment, and the other half four months later. The study is called PreventCovidU and managed by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
“It’s critical to understand how effective the vaccine is in preventing spread of infection in this population. We need to understand how often individuals in this age group become positive, what is the level of virus in their nose and how often they pass virus to others,” says Sharon Nachman, MD, principal investigator of the Stony Brook arm of the study, and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Nachman expects some 400 Stony Brook students will be enrolled in the study. Recruitment has begun, and students will be monitored throughout the duration of the study. Enrollees need to be between 18 to 26 years of age. Participating students will have to swab their noses daily for testing and provide three blood samples as part of the study.
Upon participation, a computerized process is activated to randomly choose which group a participant is in — the immediate vaccination group or delayed (four months later) group. The delayed arm of the study is needed so the researchers can tell how well the COVID-19 vaccine works in preventing infection and transmission to others who are vaccinated compared to those who are not yet vaccinated.
“This is really a remarkable study that will not only give us answers to COVID-19 infection in students and spread of disease, but will be beneficial in helping us better understand how all Americans may respond to vaccine, as well as guide us in continuing to improve practices regarding ways to stop the spread and return to full normalcy, such as for schooling, jobs and social activities,” stresses Dr. Nachman.