Researchers in the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health Conduct Vaccine Trials and Analysis on Effectiveness of Immunizations
In the two years since the first COVID-19 vaccines were given to patients in the U.S., the vaccines had the cumulative effect of preventing 18 million hospitalizations and 3 million deaths. That is based on a new modeling analysis conducted by a researcher at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) and her colleagues. Results of the analysis were published by the Commonwealth Fund.
The researchers relied on a computer model of COVID-19 transmission to estimate the number of deaths and hospitalizations that were prevented from December 2020 through November 2022.
Since the vaccine was approved near the end of 2020, more than 655 million doses have been administered and 80 percent of the U.S. population has received at least one shot. Without vaccination, there would have been nearly 120 million more COVID-19 infections, according to the new analysis. The vaccination program also saved the U.S. $1.15 trillion in medical costs that would otherwise have been incurred.
“Our findings highlight the substantial impact of the U.S. vaccination program on reducing infections, hospitalizations, and deaths,” said study leader Meagan Fitzpatrick, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine at UMSOM and a vaccine researcher at UMSOM’s Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health (CVD).
Researchers from Yale School of Public Health and York University were co-authors on this analysis.
UMSOM researchers played a significant role in helping to test the COVID vaccines in clinical trials to determine whether they were safe and effective.
- CVD researchers led by Kathleen Neuzil, MD, MPH, and Kirsten Lyke, MD, were the first in the U.S. to begin testing experimental COVID-19 vaccine candidates developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. The first participant was vaccinated on May 4, 2020, just five months after the SARS-CoV-2 virus was first detected in Wuhan, China.
- CVD’s Karen Kotloff, MD, and Matthew Laurens, MD, MPH, served as principal investigators for the Phase 3 clinical trial of an experimental COVID vaccine made by Moderna that led to the FDA emergency use authorization of the vaccine.
- CVD’s James Campbell, MD, MS, conducted Phase 2/3 clinical trials to test the Moderna vaccine in children ages six months to 11 years old.
- UMSOM’s Matthew Frieman, PhD, conducted pre-clinical trials with an experimental COVID-19 vaccine made by Novavax and found it generated a robust immune response in animals, which led to human clinical trials.
- CVD’s Karen Kotloff, MD, co-led the Novavax vaccine in Phase 3 clinical trial that recruited 500 adult and adolescent participants in Baltimore and led to the emergency use authorization by the FDA. Results of the trial were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“This analysis shows the immeasurable value that these vaccines have had on saving lives and preventing severe illness from COVID,” said Mark T. Gladwin, MD, Dean, UMSOM, Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, Baltimore, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor. “Our researchers led the way in clinical trials for all three vaccine candidates and provided more than one million COVID-19 tests to the State of Maryland. Important modeling studies such as this one remain crucial for determining how we can ready ourselves for future pandemics and other global health crises.”
About the University of Maryland School of Medicine
Now in its third century, the University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today as one of the fastest growing, top-tier biomedical research enterprises in the world — with 46 academic departments, centers, institutes, and programs, and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians, scientists, and allied health professionals, including members of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and a distinguished two-time winner of the Albert E. Lasker Award in Medical Research. With an operating budget of more than $1.3 billion, the School of Medicine works closely in partnership with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide research-intensive, academic, and clinically based care for nearly 2 million patients each year. The School of Medicine has nearly $600 million in extramural funding, with most of its academic departments highly ranked among all medical schools in the nation in research funding. As one of the seven professional schools that make up the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine has a total population of nearly 9,000 faculty and staff, including 2,500 students, trainees, residents, and fellows. The combined School of Medicine and Medical System (“University of Maryland Medicine”) has an annual budget of over $6 billion and an economic impact of nearly $20 billion on the state and local community. The School of Medicine, which ranks as the 8th highest among public medical schools in research productivity (according to the Association of American Medical Colleges profile) is an innovator in translational medicine, with 606 active patents and 52 start-up companies. In the latest U.S. News & World Report ranking of the Best Medical Schools, published in 2021, the UM School of Medicine is ranked #9 among the 92 public medical schools in the U.S., and in the top 15 percent (#27) of all 192 public and private U.S. medical schools. The School of Medicine works locally, nationally, and globally, with research and treatment facilities in 36 countries around the world. Visit medschool.umaryland.edu