University of Minnesota receives $66 million to create new antiviral drug discovery center
The University of Minnesota has received $66 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to establish an antiviral drug development center for pandemic viruses, including SARS-CoV-2.
The Midwest Antiviral Drug Discovery (AViDD) Center is part of a network of nine national centers established by NIAID in response to the public health emergency caused by COVID-19. The initial duration of the project is three years with a planned extension to five years and additional funding of over $20 million per year.
The COVID19 pandemic has highlighted the lack of therapeutic interventions for emerging viral diseases. We already see the promise that antiviral drugs like Paxlovid may have against SARS-CoV-2. I am thrilled to help contribute to the development of new antiviral drugs through the Midwest Antiviral Drug Discovery Center. New and innovative ways to target viruses will be essential to help mitigate, and perhaps even prevent, the next pandemic. »
Ryan Langlois, Associate Professor of Microbiology, University of Minnesota Medical School
AViDD Center of the Midwest -; co-led by Dr. Reuben Harris, Principal Investigator and Medical School Fellow, and Dr. Fang Li, Endowed Professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine -; brings together collaborative researchers from the University and sixteen other institutions across the country.
“We are very excited about this opportunity to advance antiviral drug discovery. Over the past two years, the University of Minnesota has played an important scientific role in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” Li said. “Many thanks to the NIH for this support! We will continue to work in close collaboration with our colleagues from other institutions to accomplish our mission.”
Housed at the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Infectious Diseases, the Center is a key part of a comprehensive initiative that brings together expertise from all disciplines to uncover effective responses to pandemics, life-threatening infections and the antimicrobial resistance through basic, translational and clinical research.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to develop new strategies to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 and other dangerous viruses,” said Dr. Harris, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute researcher and professor at the University of Texas Health San Antonio. “We hope our work will help build a vast arsenal of antiviral drugs to end COVID-19 and prevent future pandemics.
“We are pleased and proud of the hard work represented by this significant investment by the NIH in our collaborative faculty and their innovative efforts to combat viral threats with pandemic potential,” said Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Vice President. president of clinical affairs. “In early 2020, faculty at our institution stepped up to respond to SARS-CoV-2, and this award recognizes their innovative efforts.
Funding for this grant is provided through NIAID grant number: 1U19AI171954 – 01. The awards are part of the Pandemic Antiviral Program (APP), an intensive research program designed to accelerate the development of therapies for COVID-19. APP is led by NIAID, the National Center for the Advancement of Translational Sciences (NCATS), and the Office of Research Infrastructure Programs, all part of the NIH; and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), which is part of HHS.
Including the University, all institutions involved are Baylor College of Medicine, Boston University, Georgia State University, Iowa State University, Nanyang Technological University Singapore, New York Blood Center, University of Arkansas, UF Scripps Biomedical Research, University of California Berkeley , University of California San Diego, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Iowa, University of Louisville, University of Mississippi and University of Texas Health San Antonio.