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Vanderbilt University Medical Center Aids National Effort to "Repurpose" Drugs for COVID-19

Chris Lindsell, PhD

Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) has been named Data Coordinating Center (DCC) for a nationwide platform of studies aimed at "repurposing" existing drugs to treat mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19.

The Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) is the Clinical Coordinating Center for the ACTIV-6 platform announced today<April 19> by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). DCRI has contracted with VUMC for data coordinating services. NIH will provide an initial investment of $155 million in funding for the trial.

The DCC principal investigator is Chris Lindsell, PhD, professor of Biostatistics and director of the Research Methods Program in the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR), which provides comprehensive support for clinical and translational research at VUMC.

Currently there are no therapies approved specifically to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms. The goal of ACTIV-6, part of the Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) public-private partnership, is to prioritize and speed development of the most promising treatments.

"We have designed the ACTIV-6 platform to make it easy for anyone to take part, no matter where they live," Lindsell said. "Because we are repurposing existing drugs, it is increasingly possible to deliver research therapies directly to someone's home.

"Combining easy access to the study with advanced ways of analyzing the data, we will quickly sort through already available, safe drugs to find which ones might help people feel better sooner while also keeping them out of the hospital," he said.

The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), part of the NIH, is sponsoring the ACTIV-6 platform with funding from theBiomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

PCORnet, the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network, will support ACTIV-6 governance and operations, and PCORnet sites including VUMC will enroll participants from a broad range of communities. PCORnet funding comes from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), an independent non-profit research organization.


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