[excerpt - editing below is mine]
September 26, 2013
DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke Medicine has been named a Vaccine and Treatment
Evaluation Unit (VTEU) by the National Institute of Allergy and
Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, to
evaluate vaccines, treatments and diagnostics to protect people from
infectious diseases, including emerging public health needs.
Duke was the only new site named since 2007 to the existing group of
eight VTEUs. Each institution has the potential to receive funding
estimated to be up to $135 million annually over a seven-year period.
Established in 1962, the VTEUs have been instrumental in the development
of new vaccines, including the infant pneumococcal vaccine. They have
also tested innovative ways to deliver protection from infectious
diseases, including a nasal spray alternative to the flu shot. VTEUs are
also beginning to play a growing role in testing treatments for viral
infections and improving diagnostic tools.
A key strength of
VTEUs is their ability to enroll large numbers of participants in
clinical trials to rapidly test vaccines in public health emergencies
such as pandemic flu. Researchers can quickly gather and share
information on vaccine safety and effectiveness, which is critical
during pandemic situations.