The founding partners of COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator today announced grants of $ 20 million to three research institutions – the University of Washington, Oxford University and the La Jolla Institute of Immunology – to fund medical experiments for effective immunotherapy treatments. Against the Covid-19 virus.
These grants represent the first core investment, which is a large-scale initiative launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Welcome Fund and MasterCard Corporation to accelerate the development of treatments for the Covid-19 virus. It should be noted that at present there are no extensive antivirals or immunotherapy available to prevent or treat COVID-19.
Commenting on the remarks, Mark Suzman, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: “These grants to leading research institutions will enhance our knowledge of drugs and antibodies currently available in the treatment of the epidemic we face worldwide. These initial investments in the Covid-19 Therapy Accelerator Program will lead to More accurate study of these potential solutions. We will move forward with these efforts through advanced science and shared data. ”
Funds recently announced by government agencies and other donors have strengthened this initial funding from the Covid-19 Therapy Accelerator Program.
Chan Zuckerberg’s initiative contributed $ 25 million, while the UK government allocated £ 40 million last week.
The additional funds will allow the Covid-19 Therapy Accelerator program to continue to provide grants to study existing drugs that have been created to fight past diseases and to investigate biological agents that can be used to tackle the Covid-19 virus. More funding is still needed to explore promising treatments by developing and expanding these efforts.
Two of the recently announced trials are to finance the study of two previous drugs, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, which have antiviral properties. These medications have been used for more than 50 years in the treatment of malaria and a variety of rheumatism cases. New trials aim to determine whether these drugs are effective as a preventive treatment before and after exposure to the Covid-19 virus. Although these drugs may hold promise in principle, scientists need rigorous scientific evidence to make decisions about how and where to use them to deal with this epidemic.
In cooperation with New York University School of Medicine, Washington University will conduct medical experiments at multiple locations in western Washington and New York City to investigate the efficacy of hydroxy chloroquine in protecting people at risk from infection with Covid-19 infection. The experiments will be conducted on about 2,000 men and women who did not show symptoms of the disease who are in direct contact with people who are either confirmed as suspected or suspected of having Covid-19 virus.
Participants in these trials will be randomly assigned to use a hydroxychloroquine or placebo over a period of two weeks, and samples will be collected and tested daily to confirm any new infection with Covid-19 virus across the two groups. Sandoz, a subsidiary of Novartis Pharmaceuticals, donated the necessary doses of hydroxychloroquine to this study. Participant registration will begin in April, while results will be available in late 2020.
The Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU) will conduct a preventive study with dummy drugs, to determine the ability of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to prevent Covid-19 virus from infecting health care workers, front-line workers, and other groups at risk of this virus. At least 40,000 participants in this study from Asia and Europe will be randomly chosen to receive doses of chloroquine (East Asian countries) or hydroxychloroquine (UK and Europe), or a matching placebo-coated placebo as a daily preventive treatment for three months.
This year-long project, known as the “COPCOV” project, aims to determine the ability of these drugs to prevent Covid-19 infection, to provide protection for the health care workforce. Participant registration for this study will begin in April, while preliminary results will be available by the end of this year.
Commenting on it, Nick Kamak, head of the Covid-19 Therapy Accelerator Program at Welcomecom, said: “Investing in the only strategic research to eliminate Covid-19 virus is that finding medicines, vaccines and diagnoses is essential to saving lives, eliminating this epidemic and preventing It is time to assess the safety and efficacy of pre-existing drugs in this context. We encourage others to join us in this global team effort, because investing now in a large scale, in the Covid-19 Virus Therapy Accelerator Program is critical to changing the course of This epidemic. ”
In addition to funding drug trials, the program will provide $ 1.73 million to the La Jolla Institute of Immunology to create a consortium of immunological therapies for Corona Virus in the name of CoVIC, where scientists from all over the world will be united and empowered to evaluate potential antibodies alongside one another in a multidisciplinary analysis It includes real and fake medications, leading to the identification of ideal treatments. Antibody treatments can be used to protect front-line health care workers, people who come into contact with them, and others who are at risk of infection, as well as to treat people with the disease already.
“These grants are an important step in the Covid-19 Therapy Accelerator Program and expanding the range of potential anti-virus therapies,” said Mike Fromman, vice president of MasterCard. “With the need to provide remedial solutions for this global epidemic, especially for people at greater risk of disease, we need to accelerate the process.” Research and development through co-financing by private sector companies, charitable organizations and governments, and we welcome the participation of any additional entities that can contribute the necessary resources to help end this crisis.