Cindy Gay, MD, MPH

Led by Cindy Gay, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases, clinical researches are leaning on years of experience and expertise to partake in a large phase 3 clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine.

In February 2020, as bits of data about the SARS-CoV-2 virus started to emerge, Gay and UNC infectious diseases colleagues began meeting to formulate a local response to the virus. They’ve met weekly ever since, resorting to Zoom calls once the university sent employees home in March. They’ve shared data, compared notes with colleagues globally, and updated treatment recommendations.

In June, Gay agreed to lead the phase 3 clinical trial UNC site for a potential COVID-19 vaccine. Sites across the country are testing the mRNA-1273 vaccine developed by Moderna in a large-scale study aiming for 30,000 participants. Gay and her team — which includes David Wohl, MD, and Joseph Eron, MD, chief of infectious diseases — hope to start seeing participants by mid- to late August. They are developing sites in Chapel Hill and surrounding communities that will offer safe and easy access for participants, away from UNC Hospitals.

The potential Moderna vaccine is one of a handful of treatment and prevention studies launching soon to fight COVID-19.

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