University Hospitals Chosen as Site for United States Flu Vaccine Effectiveness Network

The Center for Disease Control’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases has awarded University Hospitals a sizable grant to support its assignment as a study site in the United States Flu Vaccine Effectiveness (VE) Network.

Sites in the US Flu VE Network provide estimates of clinical effectiveness for licensed vaccines by age group and by influenza type and subtype. This information is crucial in understanding how well vaccines work in a real-world setting and how their effectiveness is changed by factors related to the person, the specific vaccine, or the type of virus.

The CDC has approved $12.5 million in grant money, with the potential for another $8 million, to UH for the 5-year cooperative agreement. UH will work in collaboration with the VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System and Case Western Reserve University. The Cleveland portion of the study is called CORVETS, which stands for Cleveland Ohio Respiratory Viruses Vaccines Effectiveness across Traditional Risk Factors and Social Determinants of Health.

“University Hospitals is honored to be chosen by the CDC to participate in this important study and our selection speaks to the strong reputation of UH in the area of academic research,” said Elie Saade, MD, Principal Investigator of the study and Director of Infection Control at University Hospitals.

UH is one of seven U.S. institutions, and the only site in Ohio, that will identify laboratory-confirmed cases of acute respiratory illness due not only to influenza, but also SARS-CoV-2 (COVID), and other viruses of major public health concern. UH will do this among patients seeking healthcare for acute respiratory illness and related symptomology and will provide accurate estimates of the effectiveness of influenza, COVID-19, and other vaccines against respiratory virus-associated illness in that population. The researchers also will investigate the body’s response to the infection or the vaccine to help understand what can be done to lessen the risk of getting an infection.

“The mission of University Hospitals is to heal, to teach and to discover,” said Robert Salata, MD, Program Director, Roe Green Center for Travel Medicine & Global Health; Physician-in-Chief, and STERIS Chair of Excellence in Medicine, University Hospitals. “As part of this network, we can accomplish all three, discovering vital information that will be used to keep people in Northeast Ohio and across the country healthy.”

UH’s agreement with the CDC as part of the US Flu VE Network lasts five years, beginning in September 2022 and concluding in September 2027.

UH’s Infectious Diseases Division has established preeminent programs in research, clinical practice and education and training. It has developed premier clinical programs with emphasis on HIV medicine, travelers’ health, sexually transmitted diseases and transplant-associated infections. UH faculty members have been highly visible and at the forefront of leading-edge infectious diseases practice.