COVID on Campus


New clinical trial will test if COVID-19 

vaccine prevents infection and spread 

of SARS-CoV-2 among college students



Study expects to enroll more than 12,000 students ages 18-26 years across the U.S., and includes Clemson University



SEATTLE – The COVID-19 Prevention Network, headquartered at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, has announced the launch of Prevent COVID U, a new study evaluating SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission among college students vaccinated with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, mRNA-1273.

The trial, to include Clemson University among 20+ institutions, is funded by the Federal COVID-19 Response Program and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). 

It is designed to determine if the mRNA-1273 vaccine, currently authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, can prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2 (including asymptomatic infection), limit virus in the nose, and reduce transmission of the virus from vaccinated persons to their close contacts.

“This study builds on the Phase 3 COVID-19 clinical trials that tested the ability of vaccines to prevent symptomatic and severe COVID-19 disease in adults. The new trial will tell us whether a person can become infected after they’ve been vaccinated and if the vaccine will stop the virus from spreading person-to-person,” said Dr. Larry Corey, Principal Investigator of CoVPN’s operations program, Professor at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and one of the study leaders. “The answers to these questions have implications for public health and will allow us to make more science-based decisions about mask use and social distancing post-vaccination – especially when new variants are emerging.”

The Prevent COVID U study is a randomized, open-label, controlled study. Investigators will enroll approximately 12,000 college students aged 18-26 years at more than 20 universities across the U.S. and follow them over a five-month period. The study is funded by NIAID, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Co-principal investigators leading the study are Audrey Pettifor, PhD, MPH, Professor of Epidemiology at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Kathryn E. Stephenson, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School at the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; and Jasmine R. Marcelin, MD, FACP, FIDSA, Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases, University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Large numbers of SARS-CoV-2 infections have been reported on campuses throughout the U.S. A nationwide survey found that more than 397,000 infections were counted at 1,800-plus universities after reopening in the fall of 2020.

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