MIAMI, Jul. 27, 2020 – Dr. Howard Schwartz, Chief Medical Officer and Principal Investigator for vaccine trials at Research Centers of America (RCA), a CenExel Center of Excellence, participated in a roundtable discussion today with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration Dr. Stephen Hahn, and other national, state, and local medical leaders.
The meeting launched the first phase III COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial, which was developed by Moderna, and which is an integral part of Operation Warp Speed. RCA will recruit between 300 to 500 patients for this study alone. RCA and other CenExel Centers of Excellence are concurrently recruiting for the other major national COVID-19 vaccine trials as well.
Governor DeSantis expressed encouragement in some improving numbers, citing decreased visits to emergency departments for COVID-like illnesses, lowered hospital admissions, and a “slowly but definitely declining” COVID test positivity rate. Without detracting from the optimistic atmosphere, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of Miami Dr. Susanne Doblecki-Lewis noted that “Our goal here is to shape our volunteer population to really reflect the diversity of South Florida and the diversity of people who are affected by coronavirus. The only way to do that is to be in a place where there are ongoing infections.”
“Today is a day of hope,” Pence concluded. “Today is a day of promise. If all of us continue to do all we can, we’re going to reach the day when we put this coronavirus behind us.”