We caught up with the National Association of Veterans’ Research and Education Foundations (NAVREF) to learn more about how the VA has been collaborating with the biotech industry and government agencies to accelerate COVID-19 research and improve veterans’ access to clinical trials.
VA Research has been working to improve collaboration with industry,particularly through the ACT for Veterans Initiative, which works to improve access to clinical trials among military veterans.
VA jumped in the COVID-19 fight, participating in a number of industry-sponsored studies for therapeutics including tocilizumab with Hoffman-La Roche and sarilumab with Regeneron, which are both used in arthritis care.
In addition to participating in Operation Warp Speed and ACTIV, the VA also partnered with the Departments of Energy and Health & Human Services to coordinate and share health data, research, and expertise on COVID-19 therapeutics and vaccines.
And VA’s Million Veteran Program (MVP) is collecting information about participants’ experiences, which could provide insight into the influence of race and ethnicity on disease susceptibility, severity, and outcomes since MVP’s population is around 20% African American and 7% Hispanic.
And it’s not just about COVID-19. VA is funding a phase 2 clinical trial exploring whether degarelix, a treatment used against prostate cancer, may improve clinical outcomes, as one example.
The bottom line? We need all kinds of collaboration to beat COVID-19. “Our industry is moving forward at an incredibly fast pace, and part of the reason is because of the unprecedented collaboration we’re seeing across the industry and with key government and nongovernmental partners,” as BIO’s Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath recently said.