The vaccine unit opening comes as global coronavirus infections are rising sharply, with nearly 200,000 cases reported daily in the United States. Montefiore’s goal is to ensure more than half of all trial participants are adults most affected by COVID-19 with a focus on people older than 65. Across the country, older individuals and communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
“Montefiore and Einstein have a legacy of providing inclusive access to cutting edge care,” said Andrew D. Racine, M.D., Ph.D., system senior vice president and chief medical officer at Montefiore and professor of pediatrics at Einstein. “By ensuring that historically underrepresented patients are included in COVID-19 vaccination research, this effort will help ensure the efficacy and safety of vaccines for these underrepresented patient groups.”
The new vaccine unit builds on Montefiore and Einstein’s leadership conducting COVID-19 trials and providing lifesaving clinical care to thousands of people in the community and has already started enrolling people in the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine AZD1222 trial. Dr. Zingman is the principal investigator at Montefiore for the vaccine, which is one of 13 COVID-19 vaccines in phase III trials and the first to be evaluated at Montefiore and Einstein. He was also the principal investigator at Montefiore and Einstein for the ACTT-1 and ACTT-2 National Institutes of Health trials, which evaluated remdesivir (now FDA-approved as a treatment for people hospitalized with COVID-19) and remdesivir plus baricitinib, respectively.
Since March, physician-scientists at Montefiore and Einstein have studied COVID-19’s impact on almost every major health condition, ranging from asthma to cancer; examined health inequities in local communities; and helped determine which treatments work best against COVID-19.
Among its notable research, Montefiore and Einstein faculty:
– Published the first major U.S. study on the use of steroids, which confirmed the findings of the large-scale British RECOVERY trial showing that steroids are effective in treating COVID-19; the study also revealed which patients can be harmed by steroids
– Led the first-ever study comparing the immune responses of adults and children with COVID-19 and detected key differences that may explain why children have milder disease than adults
– Led the development of a monoclonal antibody therapy to neutralize COVID-19—and potentially other emerging coronaviruses—clinical trials will begin in December
– Created a blood test for detecting COVID-19 antibodies, used clinically and for research
– Launched the first randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial of convalescent plasma with NYU Langone Medicine Center, which has expanded to include the University of Miami and the University of Texas-Houston, among other locations across the country
– Was the first New York City medical center to enroll participants in the ACTT-1 remdesivir trial and the second highest enrolling site worldwide
– Will offer the first randomized controlled trial of dexamethasone versus baricitinib (NIAID ACTT-4 study) for the hyperinflammatory state in COVID-19
“Words cannot express my appreciation for the many people who worked so hard to establish the new COVID-19 vaccine unit, making sure underrepresented communities will have access to the most promising