NEW YORK – Researchers at Harvard University and Guangzhou Institute for Respiratory Health have been awarded $115 million in funding for COVID-19 basic science, translational, clinical, and epidemiological research.
The funding is from China Evergrande Group, a residential property developer in China, and will be distributed over five years.
Formal details of the collaboration are not yet finalized, but the overarching goal is to study the basic biology of the virus and host response to inform disease detection and therapeutic design.
The collaboration will also support development of rapid diagnostic tests, including point-of-care testing, and identification of biomarkers that can be used for prognosis and disease monitoring. It also strives to develop vaccines and antiviral therapies, as well as treatments for severe disease.
The US efforts will be led by George Daley and colleagues at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Harvard Medical School will serve as a hub to bring together expertise of basic scientists, translational investigators, and clinical researchers working throughout the medical school and its affiliated hospitals and institutes, along with other regional institutions and biotech companies, according to a statement.
The efforts in China at Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Health, part of Guangzhou Medical University, will be led by Zhong Nanshan, a pulmonologist, epidemiologist, and member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, who also heads an expert taskforce in China for COVID-19.
"We are grateful for Evergrande's leadership and generosity in facilitating this collaboration and for all the scientists and clinicians rising to the call of action in combating this emerging threat to global well-being," said Lawrence Bacow, president of Harvard University. "We are confident that the collaboration of Harvard and Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Health will contribute valuable discoveries to this worldwide effort," he added.