Indiana Daily Student

Dr. Lana Dbeibo named Director of Vaccine Initiatives at IU

A lab technician sorts blood samples inside a lab for a COVID-19 vaccine study at the Research Centers of America on Aug. 13 in Hollywood, Florida.
A lab technician sorts blood samples inside a lab for a COVID-19 vaccine study at the Research Centers of America on Aug. 13 in Hollywood, Florida.

Dr. Lana Dbeibo was named director of vaccine initiatives Monday, according to an update from IU President Michael McRobbie.

Dbeibo, an assistant professor of Clinical Medicine, joined the Medical Response Team on Monday, according to the update. Drs. Cole Beeler, Aaron Carroll and Adrian Gardner also lead the team.

Dr. Lana Dbeibo, an assistant professor of Clinical Medicine, was named director of vaccine initiatives Monday, according to an update from IU President Michael McRobbie. Indiana University

Dbeibo completed her fellowship in Infectious Diseases and residency in Internal Medicine at the IU School of Medicine, according to the IU School of Medicine website. Currently, Dbeibo is the director of Infection Prevention at Methodist Hospital.

Dbeibo was appointed before the Food and Drug Administration met to review requests for emergency use authorizations of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

The FDA will review the Pfizer vaccine Thursday and the Moderna vaccine Dec. 17, according to the update.

IU spokesperson Chuck Carney said in an email that the university is "working with the state on several areas of any vaccine distribution."

“Whatever we do regarding vaccine distribution would be coordinated with the state,” Carney said.

IU students will receive either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, which are similar in effectiveness. Both vaccines require two doses. The Pfizer vaccine doses must be 21 days apart and the Moderna vaccine doses must be 28 days apart, according to an FAQ on the IU COVID-19 website

There is not yet a date for when members of the IU community will be able to receive the vaccine. The first people community to receive the vaccine will be health care workers, according to the FAQ.

With recent progress in vaccine development, McRobbie is optimistic about the coming year, according to the update. 

“Our ultimate goal, of course, is to return to the world as it was pre-COVID-19,” McRobbie said in the update. “Some recent steadily brightening rays of hope suggest that this may well begin to happen by the fall 2021 semester.”

The update noted the current state of the pandemic, praising the efforts of the Medical Response Team in mitigation testing, symptomatic testing and contact tracing. Specifically, McRobbie plans to increase COVID-19 testing in the coming semester through the university’s own labs in Indianapolis and Bloomington.

“Through our new IU Pandemic Response Laboratories, our medical professionals can presently process 25,000 tests a week,” according to the update. “And this number will be scaled up to 50,000 tests per week by the beginning of the spring semester to address university-wide demands.” 

McRobbie’s update also praised the 24-hour-or-less turnaround time for test results and the fact current tests cost 1/10th of the price of previous commercial tests.

The update was optimistic about the vaccine developments, but it also acknowledged uncertainty about deployment schedules.

This article was updated at 2:20 p.m. Thursday to include information from the IU COVID-19 FAQ.

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