Profile: Martín Bäcker, MD, FAAP

Clinical Assistant Professor, Infectious Diseases & Pediatric Infectious Diseases, NYU Long Island School of Medicine; Clinical Site Lead, NYU VTEU Long Island, Satellite Site, NYU Langone Hospital Long Island Clinical Research Center

How long have you worked with the VTEU?

I have worked for the New York University (NYU) Vaccine & Treatment Evaluation Unit (VTEU) on the Long Island Satellite Site as a co-site leader and investigator for just over a year.

Briefly describe the IDCRC-supported trials you’ve worked on

Our team has been working on the Heterologous Prime Boost, Mix and Match Study (DMID 21-0012) and also the COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN) phase III trial for the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, AZD1222 (CoVPN 3002) and CoVPN’s Prevent COVIDU or COVID-19 transmission study. Learn more about IDCRC Studies.

Of these trials, what has been the most impactful or highlight of the work?

Thanks to the participation of volunteers and the work of the Mix and Match Study team (including 11 IDCRC-VTEU sites), study results informed the FDA and CDC recommendations that had significant impact, in the U.S. and worldwide, to better protect the population and help curb the pandemic. On October 13, 2021, preliminary results from the Mix and Match Study were made available on the pre-print server. On October 15, the study interim findings were presented to the FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC). On October 20, the FDA authorized, "the use of each of the available COVID-19 vaccines as a heterologous (or 'mix and match') booster dose in eligible individuals…” CDC’s recommendations on October 21 also allowed for mix and match dosing for booster shots.

Rarely do we have the opportunity to be a part of clinical research, in a once-in-a-century pandemic, that results in changes to public policy so immediately with tremendous potentials to diminish suffering and save lives.

Similarly, the CoVPN AstraZeneca vaccine trial has been crucial in demonstrating the safety and efficacy of this tremendously important vaccine, that has been distributed to more than 180 countries, and is contributing to save lives and curb the epidemic worldwide. Being able to do our part in this pandemic is very rewarding.

What is a strength or example of the importance of the IDCRC during the pandemic and beyond?

IDCRC and VTEUs work in tandem with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) as a coordinated national and global network of scientific experts working to develop and test vaccines and other therapies to combat infectious diseases. COVID-19 is the perfect example of the raison d'être of IDCRC. The fact that more than one vaccine was authorized in less than a year, from identification of this deadly virus, saving millions of lives, proves the importance of the consortium and how well it has stepped up to the plate when it was needed. It has been a privilege to work with the IDCRC, participate in meetings with not only brilliant individuals with years of experience in vaccinology and infectious diseases, but a level of dedication and commitment second to none.

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