U of M receives NIAID grant to develop drug treatments for future viral pandemics


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MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL, May 23, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — 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 the 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,” said Ryan Langlois, associate professor of microbiology at the medical school. “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. »

Midwest AViDD Center – co-directed by Dr. Reuben Harris, Principal Investigator and Medical School Fellow, and Dr. Fang Li, Endowed Professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine – brings together collaborating researchers from the University and sixteen other institutions nationwide.

“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. “, said Li. NIH for this support! We will continue to work closely with our colleagues from other institutions to accomplish our mission. »

Installed in the University of Minnesota Institute of Infectious Diseasesthe Center is a key part of a global initiative that brings together expertise from all disciplines to discover effective responses to pandemics, life-threatening infections and 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 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 by NIAID Grant Number: 1U19AI171954 – 01. Awards are part of the Pandemic Antiviral Program (APP), an intensive research program designed to accelerate the development of therapies against 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.


Access to media to a graph illustrating the geographic positioning of the Midwest AViDD Center.

About the University of MinnesotaThe University of Minnesota system, with campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester and the Twin Cities, is driven by a singular vision of excellence. We are proud of our land-grant mission of world-class education, groundbreaking research, and community outreach, and we are united in our desire to serve Minnesota. To visit system.umn.edu.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the national agency for medical research, comprises 27 institutes and centers and is part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The NIH is the primary federal agency that conducts and supports basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and studies the causes, treatments, and cures for common and rare diseases. For more information about the NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

Kat Dodge
University of Minnesota Medical School
[email protected]

Source: University of Minnesota School of Medicine


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