Solving challenges together
At VCU, researchers have been launching projects to address and assess the impact of the novel coronavirus. Their work ranges from vaccine development and building biobanks to study the virus to examinations of how the pandemic is affecting food access in vulnerable communities.
To prevent domestic shortages of critical medications, the Medicines for All Institute, based in the VCU College of Engineering, has joined forces with pharmaceutical industry leaders to bring manufacturing of vulnerable pharmaceuticals and their ingredients back to the U.S. “We have an acute and long-term public health emergency in the United States that we are poised to help solve right now,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. “This public-private partnership positions us to ensure that our country will have the essential drugs it needs to treat public health threats such as COVID-19.”
Thirty-one VCU faculty members received internal awards to quickly pivot or expand their work to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health system and the community. These awards were backed by the university's COVID-19 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity, led by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation with support from the C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research.
When the funding opportunity was announced on April 3, VCU researchers across both campuses were ready to hit the ground running to address COVID-19. The creativity, resourcefulness and desire to help in the fight against the pandemic demonstrated in these projects spanning various disciplines is impressive and hopefully will be impactful.
Initial support neared $200,000 in funding through the VCU COVID-19 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity, but in light of the large volume of high-quality project proposals submitted, the overall funding was increased to $350,000.