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.
“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