The White House investment of $3 billion dollars of the American Rescue Plan as part of a COVID-19 Antiviral Strategy, led an investigative team of IMV Associate Director Reuben Harris (Professor, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology & Biophysics & HHMI Investigator) and IMV Co-Investigator Fang Li (Professor, Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences; Director, Center for Coronavirus Research) to compete for one of the new Antiviral Drug Discovery (AViDD) Centers for Pathogens of Pandemic Concern (RFA-AI-21-050), supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Their request for funds to support the new Midwest AViDD Center, has been awarded to the UMN as part of a newly established network of NIAID-supported centers.
The initial funding period for the grant (1U19AI171954 – 01) is for 3 years, with the potential for extension to 5 years with $20 million per year. A number of other IMV Investigators from several different UMN colleges are a part of the UMN team that will work together with colleagues at 15 other academic institutions. Dr. Harris, who was the Principal Investigator of the application, and who was recently recruited to the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and Dr. Li, the other Principal Investigator of the application, will co-lead the center.
These awards are a part of the Antiviral Program for Pandemics (APP), which represents an intensive research program geared towards speeding development of therapeutics for COVID-19. The APP is jointly led by NIAID, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) and the Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (all of which are part of the NIH); and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) (which is part of the HHS). The IMV congratulates the investigators involved in this success!