NIAID to establish research centres to combat future pandemics  

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is investing $577 million to establish nine Antiviral Drug Discovery (AViDD) Centers for Pathogens of Pandemic Concern, the organisation has announced.  

The AViDD centers will conduct multidisciplinary research to develop candidate Covid-19 antivirals and others targeting specific viral families which could cause a future pandemic. 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 investment comes as a part of a research programme designed to speed development of therapeutics for Covid-19. The Antiviral Program for Pandemics (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 AViDD centers will conduct early-stage identification and validation of novel viral targets, with an aim to identify small molecules and biotherapeutics that directly block viral targets. The most promising candidates will hopefully enter late-stage preclinical development. The centers will be able to draw on resources from industry partners to accelerate research and make use of the companies’ chemical libraries and expertise in moving candidates into the product development pipeline. 

Official comments 

“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.” 

See the full list of Centers  

 Center for Antiviral Medicines & Pandemic Preparedness  

     Principal Investigator: Sumit Chanda, Ph.D. 

     Institute: Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California 

 UTMB-Novartis Alliance for Pandemic Preparedness 

     Principal Investigator: Pei-Yong Shi, Ph.D. 

     Institute: The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston 

Rapidly Emerging Antiviral Drug Development Initiative – AViDD Center  

     Principal Investigator: Ralph Baric, Ph.D. 

     Institute: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

Development of Outpatient Antiviral Cocktails against SARS-CoV-2 and other Potential Pandemic RNA Viruses 

     Principal Investigator: Jeffrey Glenn, M.D., Ph.D. 

     Institute: Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 

Antiviral Countermeasures Development Center  

     Principal Investigators: George Painter, Ph.D. and Richard Plemper, Ph.D. 

     Institutes: Emory University and Georgia State University, Atlanta 

Metropolitan AntiViral Drug Accelerator 

     Principal Investigator: David Perlin, Ph.D. 

     Institute: Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack, New Jersey 

QBI Coronavirus Research Group Pandemic Response Program 

     Principal Investigator: Nevan Krogan, Ph.D. 

     Institute: University of California, San Francisco 

 Midwest AViDD Center 

     Principal Investigator: Reuben Harris, Ph.D. 

     Institute: University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 

AI-Driven Structure-Enabled Antiviral Platform  

     Principal Investigators: Ben Perry, Ph.D.; Alpha Lee, Ph.D.; John Chodera, Ph.D. 

     Institutes: Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative; PostEra; Sloan Kettering Institute and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City   


Related Articles

Join FREE today and become a member
of Drug Discovery World

Membership includes:

  • Full access to the website including free and gated premium content in news, articles, business, regulatory, cancer research, intelligence and more.
  • Unlimited App access: current and archived digital issues of DDW magazine with search functionality, special in App only content and links to the latest industry news and information.
  • Weekly e-newsletter, a round-up of the most interesting and pertinent industry news and developments.
  • Whitepapers, eBooks and information from trusted third parties.
Join For Free