$20mn grants awarded to institutions combating COVID-19
Mastercard is one of several big names to cooperate in launching the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, which aims to advance the study and cure of coronavirus.
The other named partners of the initiative are the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, a London-based research charity organisation.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause debilitating economic and social consequences worldwide, the trio hopes to redress the balance by funding clinical research from which immunotherapies could be developed (there currently are none).
Recipients of $20mn in grant money for this purpose so far include the University of Oxford, the University of Washington and La Jolla Institute for Immunology.
Connecting the scientific community
However, more than simply funding research into immunotherapies, the Accelerator is envisaged as a method for bringing together the scientific community by allowing academic, researchers and developers to pool knowledge and researches.
$1.73mn of the grant money awarded to La Jolla Institute will, for example, be used to establish a Coronavirus Immunotherapy Consortium (or CoVIC).
“Today’s grants are an important next step in the Therapeutic Accelerator’s commitment to identifying and scaling treatments to combat COVID-19,” commented Mike Froman, Vice-Chairman of Mastercard.
“We need to speed up the research and development process through a collaborative funding effort by the private sector, philanthropic organizations, and governments.
“We welcome the participation of additional organizations that can contribute the resources needed to help bring an end to this crisis,” he added.
Heeding the call, additional organisations have already started to pledge significant sums of money assist in the research of coronavirus, its effects and how best to combat it, including the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative ($25mn) and the UK Government (£40mn).
Mark Suzman, CEO of the Gates Foundation, was heartened by the support already received for the Accelerator and affirmed the scientific mindset with which the organisation would conduct itself.
“These initial investments through the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator will bring rigour to the study of these potential solutions. The way forward will be informed by sound science and shared data.”
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