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Alumni from a variety of engineering backgrounds, experience levels and positions came together to help Eli Lilly create a mobile research lab network that helped develop an antibody drug to prevent coronavirus spread in nursing homes. In the first light of a mid-June morning, 1996 chemical engineering alumnus Brian Miesse scouted throughout a suburban Indianapolis dealership in search of just the right recreational vehicle for a once-in-a-lifetime cross country journey. And, he wasn’t planning an exotic summer vacation. Rather, the RV would be customized to create a mobile research lab network to study the effectiveness of an Eli Lilly and Company antibody drug to prevent coronavirus spread in America’s nursing homes. The effort to enlist up to 2,400 people for a trial of Lilly’s LY-CoV555 investigational product is being conducted in partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the COVID-19 Prevention Network, and several long-term care facility networks across the country. Nursing home residents and staff members account for more than 40% of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S., according to federal agency statistics. Abiding by the company’s “the patient is waiting” mantra, Lilly officials knew that it was critical to include the elderly population in its research studies. However, clinical trials usually take place in hospitals, universities, doctors’ offices, and community clinics, not long-term care facilities. And, pandemic-mandated facility lockdowns, patient mobility limitations, and staff shortages provided further complications. Every day also added cases and deaths to the health care crisis. So, Miesse and his team […]