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Virginia Commonwealth University Annual Report 2019-2020

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  3. Medicines for All and other COVID-19 research efforts

Solving challenges together

Medicines for All and other COVID-19 research efforts

[View Image] An employee runs tests in the Medicines for All lab at the VCU College of Engineering. (Dan Wagner, VCU College of Engineering)

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.

The manufacturing of critical medications returns to U.S. soil.

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.”

Read more about the ongoing COVID-19 research efforts at VCU, including:

  • Alternatives to traditional ventilators could be possible with a 3D printer.
  • Once a coronavirus vaccine exists, this mailable patch could deliver it to millions.
  • An extremely rapid experimental COVID-19 test.
  • Exploring the possibility of halting the coronavirus’ infection cycle.

Massive effort to address COVID-19 backed by VCU’s own rapid research fund.

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.

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