Reckoning with the dangers of further viruses like SARS-CoV-2, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) this week awarded approximately $36.3 million to three academic institutions to help research into vaccines for coronaviruses and their variants.
The end goal is to halt the potential for further pandemics from that whole family of viruses. The recipients and researchers involved in such efforts are the University of Wisconsin, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, as well as Duke University, for the Center for Pan-Coronavirus Vaccine Development, Discovering Durable Pan-Coronavirus Immunity and Design and Development of a Pan-Betacoronavirus Vaccine projects, respectively.
“The available COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be remarkably effective at protecting against severe disease and death,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIAID director, said. “These new awards are designed to look ahead and prepare for the next generation of coronaviruses with pandemic potential.”
Funding came from the Emergency Awards Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) on Pan-Coronavirus Vaccine Development Program Projects, run by the NIAID Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. It is separate from the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine efforts that have dominated the scene since last year.
Each award will support multidisciplinary teams as they research coronavirus virology and immunology, immunogen design, and innovative vaccine and adjuvant platforms and technologies to benefit medical countermeasures against coronavirus strains. Work will range from preclinical evaluations of vaccine candidates to new approaches for eliciting immunity, as well as designs of vaccine platforms and immunogens.
Further awards in this vein are expected to be issued next year.