Fred Hutch at CROI: COVID-19 vaccine efficacy trials, T-cell immunity following vaccination, immune responses to SARS-CoV-2, and late-breaking science on HPV, HIV and long-term antiretroviral therapy

Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections to be held virtually March 6 – 10, 2021

SEATTLE —Mar. 4, 2021 — Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center experts will present research on SARS-CoV-2 infection and immunity, and COVID-19 vaccine trial design at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections 2021. The meeting, which will be held virtually March 6-10, also will feature findings from the Uganda Cancer Institute-Fred Hutch Cancer Centre.

See below for presentations by Fred Hutch researchers and background. Presentation times are in the Eastern Time Zone.

Reporters requesting additional information or interviews, please contact Claire Hudson at or 206.919.8300 (cell). For media registration for the conference, visit the CROI newsroom.


Multiple High-Risk and Nonvaccine HPV Types in HIV+ Ugandan Women on Long-Term ART

Late-Breaking Science Spotlight
Presentation will be available Saturday, March 6, 12 a.m. ET

Dr. Thomas Uldrick, associate professor in the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division and deputy head of Fred Hutch’s Global Oncology Program, will present new findings on the persistent effects of HIV on cervical HPV among a cohort of women living with HIV on ART in Uganda. An international expert on HIV-related cancers, Dr. Uldrick and colleagues collaborate with partners in Uganda at the Uganda Cancer Institute-Fred Hutch Cancer Centre in Kampala to study the immunopathogenesis of cervical cancer in women living with HIV. Follow Dr. Uldrick on Twitter.


Design of Current and Future COVID-19 Vaccine Efficacy Trials

Technical Workshop on Clinical Trial Design and Analysis
Sunday, March 7, 12:20 to 2:20 p.m. ET

Dr. Holly Janes, a biostatistician with extensive experience designing HIV vaccine studies, will present on trial design for COVID-19 vaccines. A co-principal investigator at the Statistical and Data Management Center for the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), which is based at Fred Hutch, Dr. Janes and her colleagues quickly pivoted in 2020 to apply their skills to designing COVID-19 vaccine efficacy trials. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Larry Corey, HVTN co-founder and principal investigator, created the COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN). They brought together Dr. Janes and other HIV researchers to coordinate the NIH-funded clinical trials network evaluating COVID-19 vaccines and monoclonal antibodies.


T-Cell Immunity in SARS-CoV-2 Natural Infection and Following Vaccination

Panel in a Session on HIV-1 and SARS-CoV-2: Durability of Host Immune Responses from Vaccination or Infection
Tuesday, March 9, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. ET

Dr. Julie McElrath, Fred Hutch senior vice president and director of the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, will be one of five expert panelists discussing natural and vaccine-induced immune responses to COVID-19. She is a principal investigator and director of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network’s Laboratory Center, leads the Seattle Vaccine Trials Unit and has leveraged her expertise in HIV to study COVID-19. Dr. McElrath is the principal investigator for the Fred Hutch site of the Phase 3 trial of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine and leads the Seattle COVID Cohort Study, an observational study of people who have contracted COVID-19. Her lab serves as a common facility for assessing immune responses to COVID-19 vaccines for the CoVPN. Dr. McElrath holds the Joel D. Meyers Endowed Chair at Fred Hutch.


Humoral Immune Responses to SARS-CoV-2 (VirScan)

Panel in a Session on SARS-CoV-2 and the Host Immunity Response: Good vs Bad Immunity
Wednesday, March 10, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. ET

Dr. Julie Overbaugh, professor in the Human Biology and Public Health Sciences Divisions and director of the Office of Education and Training at Fred Hutch, will be one of five members on this panel of international experts exploring immune responses to COVID-19. Dr. Overbaugh studies mechanisms of viral pathogenesis, with a particular interest in factors that influence HIV transmission. With the emergence of COVID-19, Dr. Overbaugh turned her attention to SARS-CoV-2, focusing on reinfection as a way to understand protection afforded by vaccines. Dr. Overbaugh holds the Graduate Education Endowed Chair at Fred Hutch.


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Media Contact:
Claire Hudson
M: 206-919-8300                                       

At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home to three Nobel laureates, interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists seek new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. Fred Hutch’s pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation led to the development of immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to treat cancer. An independent, nonprofit research institute based in Seattle, Fred Hutch houses the nation’s first cancer prevention research program, as well as the clinical coordinating center of the Women’s Health Initiative and the international headquarters of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network and COVID-19 Prevention Network.