Through awards amounting to approximately $577 million, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is working to create nine Antiviral Drug Discovery (AViDD) Centers for Pathogens of Pandemic Concern, working to develop innovative drugs.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for new antiviral drugs, especially those that could easily be taken by patients at home while their symptoms are still mild,” NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said. “Decades of prior research on the structure and vulnerabilities of coronaviruses greatly accelerated our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we hope that similar research focused on antivirals will better prepare us for the next pandemic.”
These centers will research and bolster early-stage identification and validation of new viral targets, particularly focused on identifying small molecules and biotherapeutics capable of directly blocking viral targets. The research will be multidisciplinary and include COVID-19 antivirals as well as other drugs targeting specific viral families with a high potential to cause future pandemics. Paramyxoviruses, bunyaviruses, togaviruses, filoviruses – such as Ebola viruses and Marburg virus – picornaviruses – such as enteroviruses – and flaviviruses including those that cause yellow fever, dengue, and Zika will be included.
Award recipients include:
- Center for Antiviral Medicines & Pandemic Preparedness at the Scripps Research Institute
- UTMB-Novartis Alliance for Pandemic Preparedness at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston
- Rapidly Emerging Antiviral Drug Development Initiative AViDD Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Development of Outpatient Antiviral Cocktails against SARS-CoV-2 and other Potential Pandemic RNA Viruses at Stanford University School of Medicine
- Antiviral Countermeasures Development Center of Emory University and Georgia State University
- Metropolitan AntiViral Drug Accelerator at Hackensack University Medical Center
- QBI Coronavirus Research Group Pandemic Response Program at the University of California, San Francisco
- Midwest AViDD Center at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
- AI-Driven Structure-Enabled Antiviral Platform, created by the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative; PostEra; Sloan Kettering Institute, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Promising drug candidates will be delivered to late-state preclinical development once identified and evaluated for various properties, such as their potency and scope. Aiding this, any of these centers will be able to draw from the resources of industry partners for their research, including their chemical libraries and expertise in the product development pipeline.