Antiviral drug development awards announced by NIH

NIAID, a part of the NIH has awarded $577 million to establish nine AViDD Centers for Pathogens of Pandemic Concern.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the nation's medical research agency which includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments and cures for both common and rare diseases.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded approximately $577 million to establish nine Antiviral Drug Discovery (AViDD) Centers for Pathogens of Pandemic Concern. The NIAID conducts and supports research, throughout the United States, and worldwide. It mainly focuses on the study on the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses.
The AViDD centers will conduct innovative, multidisciplinary research to develop candidate COVID-19 antivirals, especially those that can be taken in an outpatient setting, as well as antivirals targeting specific viral families with high potential to cause a pandemic in the future. These include paramyxoviruses, bunyaviruses, togaviruses, filoviruses (including Ebola viruses and Marburg virus), picornaviruses (including enteroviruses and other cold-causing viruses), and flaviviruses (including the viruses that cause yellow fever, dengue and Zika). The awards are a part of the Antiviral Program for Pandemics (APP), an intensive research program designed to speed development of therapeutics for COVID-19. APP is led by NIAID, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) and the Office of Research Infrastructure Programs, all part of NIH; and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of HHS.
"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, " said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci
"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, " said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "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."
Colorized scanning electron micrograph of a cell (pink) infected with a variant strain of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles  isolated from a patient sample..
Image: Colorized scanning electron micrograph of a cell (pink) infected with a variant strain of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles isolated from a patient sample..
The AViDD centers will conduct research on the early-stage identification and validation of novel viral targets, with an eye to identify small molecules and biotherapeutics that directly block viral targets. As drug candidates are identified and evaluated for properties such as potency and breadth, the most promising will enter late-stage preclinical development. Importantly, the centers can draw on the resources of their industry partners to accelerate research, making use of the companies' chemical libraries and expertise in moving candidates into the product development pipeline.
The recipients of the AViDD award are namely Sumit Chanda (Ph.D.) from the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California, Pei-Yong Shi (Ph.D.) from the The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston. In addition to this Ralph Baric from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Jeffrey Glenn from the Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California had their names in the list of the winners of this award.



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