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NEWS EVENTS FUNDING CONSORTIUM
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July 2022

Dear Reader,

 

The Viral Version of War and Peace

 
Over the last 2.5 years, many COVID-related concepts have had their day in the sun only to wither and fall by the wayside (‘flatten the curve,’ ‘herd immunity,’ e.g.), all the while the COVID train just keeps on rolling. While many anticipated the omicron wave last winter to be the virus’ last hurrah, since that time we’ve witnessed a blistering cavalcade of omicron subvariants (BA.2, BA.2.12, BA.4, and BA.5) that has befuddled the WHO variant nomenclature committee (or else someone lost the Greek alphabet list). Currently, BA.4/5 have reached national dominance (>50%) and suggest another summer wave to rival last year’s delta. This is also not a US-unique phenomenon as Europe, which in general has a much higher vaccination (and booster) rate, has experienced even more infections (although testing and test-seeking behaviors may preclude definitive comparisons). Countries such as France and Germany, which have only 1/5 and 1/4 the US populations, respectively, are now recording more cases than the US. Even in a country such as Portugal where >90% of the adult population has been vaccinated and 60% boosted, although their BA.4/5 wave was about half the size of their omicron wave, it still resulted in nearly a similar level of mortality.
 
The reasons for why, after all the vaccinations and prior infections, COVID continues to demonstrate high levels of transmission and severity, has virologists and epidemiologists scratching their heads and offering novel explanations (my favorite – “sometimes I wonder if all this is happening because I didn’t forward that email to 10 people”).

 

 
By: Michael Kurilla, M.D., Ph.D., NCATS Director of the Division of Clinical Innovation

Spotlight Story


The Bridge for Youth, Marlene’s Place
 

Youth-led Solutions for Teen Parents and Parents-to-be Experiencing Homelessness

 
A youth shelter and University of Minnesota researchers teamed up to address the unmet needs of pregnant or parenting teens who are also facing homelessness. This vulnerable group often slips through the cracks of social services, finding themselves both ineligible for shelter and lacking healthcare resources. With funding from the UMN CTSA, the community-university team developed and evaluated youth-driven health education programming at a new shelter designed for young parents and parents-to-be. Their research showed graduates of the program stay connected through healthcare for themselves and their family — a critical finding for combating the cycle of intergenerational homelessness.
   
 

SC CTSI Prepares to Launch Multiple New Initiatives with Renewed Clinical and Translational Science Award Funding

The SC Clinical and Translational Science Institute (SC CTSI) at the University of Southern California (USC) and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) is planning a broad range of projects to support and improve clinical and translational research through renewal of a Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Center for Advancing Translational Science in the U. S. National Institutes of Health. In addition to maintaining programs and offering resources that have become mainstays of CTSAs around the nation, such as biostatistics and study design expertise, clinical research support, educational programs and funding opportunities, the SC CTSI plans to launch more than 30 new initiatives in the next five years that set it apart from other hubs within the consortium.

 


 

Podcast: Lessons Learned from COVID-19 and HIV/AIDs Pandemics with NUCATS Director Richard D'Aquila, MD

Accelerating new advances in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases is an important goal of the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (NUCATS) and the past two years have been a crucial time for the study of infectious diseases. Richard D’Aquila, MD, professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Northwestern and director of NUCATS, discusses some milestone discoveries made and recent lessons from the COVID-19 and the HIV/AIDs pandemics.

 


 

Making Real-World Data and Evidence a Reality: An Un-Meeting Recap

Researchers across the country gathered virtually last month to dive into the ever growing pool of big data at the two-day Un-Meeting event, “Making Real-World Data and Real-World Evidence a Reality for Translational Science.” The topic, chosen by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), was driven by the core principles of translational science: moving scientific discoveries into the “real world” effectively, efficiently, and safely.

 


 

Updates from the CTSA Steering Committee DEI Task Force: Phase I Survey

The DEI TF, now known as the DEIA TF, will also be distributing a Phase 1: Diversity survey, presented on the CTSA Program Webinar on May 25, 2022. The purpose of this survey is to gather baseline data on the level of leadership diversity across the CTSA Consortium. The rationale behind this survey is twofold (1) Assessing diversity serves as a starting point to the complex, cross-cutting constructs of diversity, equity, and inclusion; and (2) There has never been an aggregated assessment of the level of diversity in our CTSA Program hubs.

The survey will be sent to the Contact PIs for each hub by Monday July 11, 2022 with the request to complete the survey by the end of August. Please watch your emails for more information about completing this survey.

 


 

Register for the Monthly CTSA Program Webinar (July 2022 - June 2023)

The last CTSA Program Webinar series ended with the June 22, 2022 Program Webinar. To stay up to date on NCATS and CTSA news, make sure you register for the July 2022 – June 2023 CTSA Program Webinar Series! To register and add it to your calendar, please use this registration link:

 


 

Do You Have News or a Success Story You Would Like to See in the Ansible?

Submit a feature story that you would like to be considered for an upcoming CTSA Ansible.

 


Nov.
1-2

CTSA Program Fall Annual Meeting: Achieving Health Equity through the Science of Translation
In-Person, Washington, D.C.
 
Notice of Change to PAR-21-293 Clinical and Translational Science Award (UM1 Clinical Trial Optional) in Eligibility
 
 
Notice of Special Interest: Administrative Supplements to NIH-funded T32 and TL1 Training Grants to Better Integrate Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSS) with other Health-Related Sciences. First Available Due Date: July 11, 2022
 
 
Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Availability of Administrative Supplements for the INCLUDE (INvestigation of Co-occurring conditions across the Lifespan to Understand Down syndromE) Project. First Available Due Date: August 01, 2022.
 
 
PHS 2022-2 Omnibus Solicitation of the NIH, CDC and FDA for Small Business Innovation Research Grant Applications (Parent SBIR [R43/R44] Clinical Trial Not Allowed). Open Date: August 05, 2022.
 
 
PHS 2022-2 Omnibus Solicitation of the NIH for Small Business Technology Transfer Grant Applications (Parent STTR [R41/R42] Clinical Trial Not Allowed). Open Date: August 05, 2022.
 
 
Research Opportunity Announcement: All of Us Engagement, Communications, and Enrollment Partnerships. Due: August 31, 2022 3 PM ET.
 
 
Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Innovative Technologies for Research on Climate Change and Human Health (R43/R44 Small Business Innovation Research (R43/R44 Clinical Trial Optional). First Available Due Date: September 05, 2022.
 
 
Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Innovative Technologies for Research on Climate Change and Human Health Small Business Technology Transfer (R41/R42 Clinical Trial Optional). First Available Due Date: September 05, 2022.
 
 
 
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IRB Reliance Exchange (IREx): A Single IRB Platform for Lead Study Teams and Coordinating Centers

 
As recently published, the IREx platform helps operationalize the single IRB (sIRB) mandate (doi:10.1017/cts.2022.376). More than 30 sIRBs are using IREx for over 450 studies with 2600 reliances, and new sIRBs use IREx each year given its utility for lead study teams and coordinating centers. IREx standardizes the sIRB process, automates communications, captures documentation from sites, and disseminates sIRB approvals. During the COVID-19 pandemic, 9 sIRBs used IREx to streamline IRB approval for over 200 sites on 29 studies, including PassItOn, ACTIV4 Host Tissue, and TREAT NOW, with local HRPP review and sIRB approval, combined, only requiring 20 median days.

 

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