Kathleen Neuzil, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics and Director of the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health (CVD) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) and Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, announced that CVD has been awarded a contract from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), with total funding up to more than $200 million over seven years if all contract options are exercised.
This research contract is one of the largest ever awarded to UMSOM and includes an initial award of approximately $2.5 million to conduct clinical testing of influenza vaccines. Total funding over seven years could be as much as $201 million if all options are exercised in the NIAID contract.
CVD’s research is aimed at testing improved seasonal influenza vaccines and conducting controlled human influenza challenge studies for NIAID Collaborative Influenza Vaccine Innovation Center (CIVICs) program, which has the ultimate goal of developing a universal vaccine to protect against emerging influenza strains as well as improvements to current seasonal vaccines.
The seven-year contract will be led by CVD’s Dr. Neuzil, who is one of the world’s leading and preeminent research scientists and advocates in the area of vaccine development and policy.
The CIVICs program includes multidisciplinary research across a large network of institutions, supporting the development of vaccine candidates through testing in pre-clinical studies, clinical trials and human challenge studies. This new CVD funding will establish the CVD CIVIC Clinical Core, with the specific goal of evaluating improved seasonal influenza vaccines and ultimately developing a universal vaccine to protect against emerging influenza strains.
As Principal Investigator, Dr. Neuzil will serve as the primary liaison with NIH program officers, CIVICs partners and technical centers. Under Dr. Neuzil’s leadership, CVD has assembled an expert and accomplished team with extensive clinical research experience as well as virology, immunology, and influenza expertise. The research includes clinical trials and challenge studies in adults as well as in special populations, such as children, pregnant women, and the elderly.
The CIVICs program was jointly developed by NIAID’s Division of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation and the Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases to advance development and clinical testing of improved seasonal and universal influenza vaccines that provide durable, broadly cross-protective immunity.
The CVD CIVIC program builds upon decades of clinical vaccine research at the CVD, much of which is contracted through the NIAID’s-supported Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit (VTEU) network. CVD, as a part of the VTEU network, is conducting vaccine trials against influenza and other diseases. In addition, CVD is studying vaccines to protect against malaria, anthrax, Dengue, Ebola virus, meningitis, and Hantaan virus.