Today, the partners in the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator announced grants of $20 million to three institutions - the University of Washington, the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU), and La Jolla Institute for Immunology - to fund clinical trials to identify highly potent immunotherapies for the COVID-19 pandemic.
These grants mark the first investments to come from the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, a large-scale initiative launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard to speed the development of and access to therapies for COVID-19. Currently, there are no broad-spectrum antivirals or immunotherapies available to prevent or treat COVID-19.
“These grants to leading institutions in their fields will advance our understanding of how existing drugs and antibodies can contribute to addressing the pandemic we’re facing around the world,” said Mark Suzman, chief executive officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “These initial investments through the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator will bring rigor to the study of these potential solutions. The way forward will be informed by sound science and shared data.”
In addition, newly announced funding from government and philanthropic donors has added to the Accelerator’s initial funding. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative committed $25 million and the U.K. government committed £40 million last week. The additional funds will allow the Accelerator to continue making grants to study repurposed drugs and investigate biological compounds for activity against COVID-19. More funding is needed to move promising therapies through development and scale-up.