University of Pittsburgh Center for Vaccine Research Receives $5m as Part of Collaborative Targeting COVID-19

Mar 21, 2020 | Center for Vaccine Research, Grants, University of Pittsburgh

University of Nebraska Medical Center to Conduct Clinical Trial Treating Coronavirus

The University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Vaccine Research, part of an international team studying COVID-19, received nearly $5 million to combat the novel coronavirus. The funds further tighten an integrated research network, in Paris, Vienna, France, and Pittsburgh, PA to continue to study ways to beat the virus.

The Biocontainment Labs Production Center

Within the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Vaccine Research lies the Biocontainment Laboratories, highly secure and regulated facilities, where university researchers are growing large quantities of the coronavirus to help clinicians develop ongoing tests. The researchers here also study SARS coronavirus—putting it into a genetically modified measles vaccine to assess if it can be exploited to target a weapon against COVID-19, reports CBSN Pittsburgh.

Flattening the Duplication Curve

The researchers here seek to figure out how to “flatten” the replication curve of the virus in one person. “In the world they are thinking about how to “limit the infection” which might lead to a lesser form of pneumonia which might mean that the person doesn’t end up with a severe infection and doesn’t have to be brought into the hospital” reports Dr. Paul Duprex.

Collaboration is Key

Dr. Duprex suggests collaboration is key to these types of research collaborations. Hence the importance of this multinational effort. As mentioned, this collaborative effort is driven by both sides of the Atlantic.                                                    

Modeling

The Pittsburgh team must model the COVID-19 disease. That is what needs to be accomplished now out of this Pittsburgh group—not a series of discreet experiments, but a comprehensive and holistic model of COVID-19 in animals. Thereafter, they work on an actual “copy or recapitulate what happens in people.”             

Goal

The $5 million goes to the development of models that, the hope is, can determine whether or not the animal models lead to actional to make antibodies for the measles as well as antibodies against SARS Coronavirus.     

University of Pittsburgh, Center for Vaccine Research

The Center for Vaccine Research—Although there have been tremendous advances in the diagnosis and treatment of many medical conditions, infectious diseases remain the leading cause of deaths world-wide. Few discoveries in biomedical research are as important as those that revolve around the development of new diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines for infectious agents that pose risks to global public health and global security. The Center for Vaccine Research (CVR) at the University of Pittsburgh was established to address this imperative.

The CVR is housed in the Biomedical Science Tower 3 (BST3), which is located on the main campus of the University of Pittsburgh—one of the nation’s leading research institutions.

Building on the University’s existing strengths in the study of virology and immunology with an emphasis on emerging infections and HIV, the CVR engages a cross-section of scientists from an array of disciplines in infectious disease research. The CVR is expanding its footprint in the area of vaccine research and development by expanding its team of world-class investigators.

The CVR activities span basic research on molecular mechanisms of infectious diseases to the development of diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines. Moreover, the CVR supports interdisciplinary research efforts across the University and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) focused on emerging infections that threaten human health.

A balance of basic, translational, and clinical research; emphasis on collegiate interaction; visionary leadership; and a synergistic environment are among the unique features that contribute to the unparalleled potential of this world-class research center.

Lead Research/Investigator

Dr. Paul Duprex, PhD, director, Center for Vaccine Research (CVR)

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