Friday, December 20, 2019
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center has received a grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), one of the National Institutes of Health, to continue as one of just nine federally funded centers to evaluate vaccines and treatments for infectious diseases.
These nine sites are known as Vaccine Treatment and Evaluation Units, or VTEUs. Cincinnati Children’s was first designated a VTEU in 1994 and has maintained this achievement for the past 25 years.
“This grant places Cincinnati in the forefront of our national effort to combat infectious diseases and offers us the opportunity to be the leader in developing and testing vaccines,” says Robert Frenck, MD, a physician in the division of infectious diseases at Cincinnati Children’s and principal investigator for the grant. “Vaccines are the single most cost-effective strategy we have to combat infectious diseases, and the VTEU network is a critical component of the effort to prevent and treat infectious diseases that threaten the health and lives of millions of people in the U.S. and throughout the world."
The base award will bring $4.2 million to Cincinnati Children’s over seven years. Additional funds will be awarded for participation in implementation of protocols to test new vaccines or other strategies
The VTEUs conduct clinical trials of promising candidate vaccines and therapies to protect people from infectious diseases, including emergency threats. Studies conducted in previous years helped establish vaccines for the influenza pandemic of 2009 as well as new vaccine candidates for norovirus, cytomegalovirus, shigella, Ebola, Andes virus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), E. coli and emerging and seasonal strains of influenza.
With the new grant, researchers will study infectious diseases caused by viral, bacterial and parasitic pathogens, emerging infectious diseases, and pathogens important in biodefense. The VTEUs will support studies in volunteers from birth to the elderly spanning a wide variety of infectious diseases. Although located in a children’s hospital, the Cincinnati Children’s researchers will study people of all ages.
The new award also will include formation of a Leadership Group that will have significant input from the VTEU sites regarding the direction and prioritization of research during the life of the grant. In all, the NIAID intends to provide approximately $29 million per year for seven years for the VTEU program and its companion Leadership Group.
Other VTEUs will be Baylor College of Medicine, Emory University, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle, Saint Louis University, The University of Maryland School of Medicine, The University of Rochester, The University of Washington and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.