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Stephen Thomas is recognized by trustees

SUNY trustees pass resolution commending Dr Stephen Thomas for international leadership role in COVID-19 vaccine trial

The SUNY Board of Trustees, at its Nov. 17 meeting, passed a resolution commending Stephen Thomas, MD, professor and chief of Infectious Diseases at Upstate Medical University on his appointment as lead principal investigator for the Pfizer/BioNTech global phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial.

Recent reports show that the vaccine candidate is 95 percent effective against COVID-19.

As one of the global phase three vaccine trial sites, Upstate has enrolled more than 300 adult volunteers in the trial.

The commendation also cited Thomas’s early leadership on international health issues, among them Dengue, Ebola, MERs-CoV vaccine trials as well as Zika vaccine development efforts.

Trustees also acknowledged Upstate’s role beyond the vaccine trials, including the development of the pooled saliva swab COVID-19 surveillance test and the use of wastewater to detect traces of COVID in residential areas, especially college campuses.

Thomas has been instrumental Upstate’s COVID-19 response, not only in the numerous research projects and clinical trials, but in the university's response to the first wave of the pandemic, when he led the Upstate’s Incident Command process.

Trustees note that “Dr Thomas leadership role will have a significant impact on overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic” and that “Dr Thomas exemplifies the outstanding dedication to the community and extraordinary academic excellence that SUNY prides itself in fostering.”

Among his numerous academic and clinical roles at Upstate, Thomas also serves as director of the Institute for Global Health and Translational Research.