The University of Florida (UF) will start the experiment of vaccinating more than 1,000 students to determine if young people can spread the virus after being inoculated.
Two groups of 500 to 700 students will be inoculated with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The first group will be vaccinated as soon as possible, according to the associate professor at UF College of Medicine, Kartik Cherabuddi. The second group will receive the vaccine in the following months, Erudera.com reports.
The experiment is designed to determine whether the vaccine prevents the person from having symptomatic disease, prevents severe illness and death. The trial is also expected to examine if the vaccine prevents people from spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Students in the Prevent COVID U study will be arbitrarily organized into two groups, with the first one being followed for two to four months after receiving the Moderna vaccine. According to professor Cherabuddi, this time will be sufficient to collect important comparative data.
“We expect that vaccinations are decreasing transmission, but we don’t quite know how much or what really is happening among certain groups such as younger people,” Cherabuddi said.
The study aims to enroll about 12,000 students at 22 universities and an additional 25,500 of their close contacts. Other participating sites in the survey are Texas A&M, Louisiana State, and Northwestern universities.
All UF students between 18 and 26 years who have not had positive COVID-19 test results and have not received the vaccine are eligible to enroll.
Study participants will receive on-campus clinic visits over four months to include two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, three blood samples, twice-weekly saliva tests to reveal whether the virus has been transmitted to participants.
Professor Cherabuddi encouraged students to participate in the trial, highlighting that this contributes to science and humanity. Both groups participating are being compensated for their time, travel, and effort.
“The findings could have a wide-ranging impact by providing important scientific information for government leaders and public health experts about transmissibility of the virus after vaccination. It will likely answer the question of how long we should use preventive measures such as masks and social distancing” Cherabuddi said.
Several universities in the US have started implementing vaccination campaigns at the University of Houston, while Rutgers University, the University of Richmond, and Virginia Tech are to begin vaccination soon.
Recently, the Hampton University has mobilized a mobile clinic RV which will provide inoculation for Hampton Roads minority residents such as black and Latinx, marking a valuable contribution in the times of the COVID-19 pandemic.