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VACCELERATE APT Workshop in Cologne

A paradigm shift towards a learning health system I About 60 international research experts from the filed of vaccine research met in Cologne on January 18 and 19

Group of Researchers in Cologne Photo: Christian Wittke, MedizinFotoKöln

On January 18 and 19, 2024 the APT (Adaptive Platform Trials) workshop organised by VACCELERATE took place in Cologne, Germany. Around 60 international experts from the field of vaccine research came together to pave the way for the future of clinical trials. “I was very much looking forward to interactive, fruitful, informal and enjoyable discussions with the workshop participants and the results of the meeting exceed my already very high expectations”, says Professor Oliver A. Cornely, Coordinator of the VACCELERATE Consortium.

APT methodology is not new, but has not been widely applied in vaccine research yet. The aim of the discussions lead by Professor Cornely and Dr. Ullrich Bethe from the University Hospital Cologne was to explore the methodology of a truly adaptive platform trial (APT) and how this can be leveraged in vaccine research.

The workshop explored various aspects of a vaccine APT, including the basic understanding of the APT approach, research questions for the interpandemic interval, features for pandemic emergency, ability to pivot to pandemic mode and the setup of the VACCELERATE Consortium focused on APT.

In this two-day event with a tight programme, high-ranking representatives of the European Commission and the European Medicines Agency as well as leading experts in European vaccine research, including Professor Pierre Van Damme from the University of Antwerp, Professor Christian Drosten from the Charité Berlin and others discussed the new options and thus prepared the ground for the future paradigm shift towards a learning health system. The system is a perpetual APT that is continuously fed with research questions and that continuously produces evidence. This evidence should inform policy makers, before and during the next pandemic.

An APT has the potential to accelerate knowledge generation but comes with the trade-off of a more complex design. Early alignment of stakeholders is therefore vital. “This workshop was just a first step and we are looking forward to the developments in the coming months”, says Dr. Bethe.

VACCELERATE is a vaccine trial network that was established on the initiative and with financial support of the European Commission. VACCELERATE helped to improve the response capability to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to increase the ability to act and thus to make a decisive contribution to emergency preparedness. The project VACCELERATE is coordinated by the University Hospital Cologne, Germany and led by Professor Cornely.

The VACCELERATE Volunteer Registry was set up within the project, which now includes over 107,000 volunteers who are interested in taking part in clinical trials. The VACCELERATE Site Network consists of almost 500 trial sites that would carry out clinical studies. With these tools, study centers can be brought together with suitable volunteers, and clinical trials can be set up quickly.

Media Contact:

Professor Oliver A. Cornely I Institute of Translational Research 

University Hospital Cologne and Faculty of Medicine, University of Cologne

+49 221 478-85523, oliver.cornelySpamProtectionuk-koeln.de

Press and Communications Team:

Dr. Janina Leckler

+49 221 478-67664, janina.lecklerSpamProtectionuk-koeln.de

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