OPS superintendent takes part in UNMC COVID-19 vaccine study

Cheryl Logan, EdD, thought of her mother, as she filled out the paperwork, then got her first shot, to take part in a national clinical trial to test the safety and effectiveness of an investigational COVID-19 vaccine for adults.
The University of Nebraska Medical Center and its primary hospital partner, Nebraska Medicine, are involved in the trial to test an investigational protein-based vaccine created from the coronavirus spike (S) protein and an added component that boosts a person's immune response to stimulate higher levels of antibodies. The medical center is working with the COVID-19 Prevention Network, formed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Logan’s mother took part in a clinical trial herself, 20 years ago, after having been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, "a really insidious form of cancer," Dr. Logan said.
Dr. Logan reflected upon her mother’s example.
"She said, ‘You know, I know this is not going to save me. But it might save one of you.’ "
That’s why Dr. Logan is taking part in this trial now.
"My commitment to medical research is more about who else it is going to help," she said. "And it was modeled by my own mother."
You may know Dr. Logan as superintendent of Omaha Public Schools, though she is participating in the medical research as an individual citizen.  
The vaccine candidate was developed by Novavax, Inc., a U.S. biotechnology company, which plans to enroll 30,000 adults in the study, in the U.S. and Mexico.
The investigational vaccine requires two shots given three weeks apart. Four additional follow-up visits are required during the first year and two during the second year.
Two out of every three people will get the investigational vaccine and one out of every three will receive a placebo, meaning it will not contain vaccine.
"This vaccine does not contain live or inactivated virus so it does not cause infection," said Diana Florescu, MD, professor and infectious diseases specialist in the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine, who is leading the trial at the medical center.
"The first shot felt like a flu shot," Dr. Logan said. "Arm’s a little stiff but that’s normal. I’ll be back lifting weights tomorrow and working out. … I don’t have any worries about the side effects or anything like that. For COVID, the only way out is through. And this is part of the ‘through’ for all of us."
She is following in her mother’s footsteps. And, living by the same words she gives her students.
"You have two choices in life, when you are faced with something difficult," Dr. Logan said. "You can throw up your hands or you can roll up your sleeves."
The trial is looking for people who:

  • Are 19 years of age and older, including adults over age 65, including those with chronic or long-term health conditions;
  • Have not had COVID-19;
  • Are not pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to become pregnant over the next four months; and
  • Are at increased risk for exposure to SARS-CoV-2 infection, including people who work in essential jobs and people who have other medical conditions and co-morbidities (i.e., people living with HIV).

For more information, go to https://www.unmc.edu/cctr/clinical-trials/covidvaccine.html.
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