New study to explore whether COVID-19 vaccine prevents transmission

A new national study involving college students will seek to answer whether the COVID-19 vaccine can prevent asymptomatic transmission.

Researchers at the COVID-19 Prevention Network — headquartered at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle — are conducting the "Prevent COVID U" study, which launched March 25 at 21 college campuses. 

Researchers aim to enroll 12,000 students nationwide who will perform daily nose swabs for four months. Half will receive Moderna's vaccine the day they enroll, and the other half will get vaccinated after the four-month period. Researchers will also identify 25,000 close contacts of study participants to assess the degree of transmission from vaccinated students. 

"We hope that within the next five or so months, we'll be able answer the very important question about whether vaccinated people get infected asymptomatically, and if they do, do they transmit the infection to others," Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said of the trial during a March 26 White House briefing

The institute is funding the study.

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