Tulane University awarded grant to start studies on COVID-19 vaccines

Updated: Apr. 8, 2020 at 4:45 PM CDT
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COVINGTON, La. (WVUE) - The National Institutes of Health has just awarded Tulane University a $10.3 million grant to begin studying vaccines and therapies designed to fight and hopefully beat COVID-19.

Scores of researchers at the Tulane Primate Center are ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work.

For nearly two months now researchers at Tulane‘s National Primate Center in Covington have been working on a coronavirus vaccine and now they have received new ammunition in their fight.

The NIH has awarded the primate center more than $10 million to begin doing research on coronavirus vaccines and therapies under a program to be headed up by Dr. Chad Roy.

“One of the things we have to do is first understand the disease in the context of transmission,” said Roy.

Testing will be conducted on three types of monkeys housed at the primate center once protocols are established.

In addition to working on a vaccine the research team here at the Tulane Primate center will also look at possible therapies to deal with coronavirus symptoms including the use of hydroxychloroquine.

“It is a possibility and there are a number of other things that have been tested and they will come to pass once we’ve got the model up and running,” said Roy.

The awarding of the grant is welcome news to doctors nurses and healthcare workers on the front lines, many of whom are working without a day off.

“This may linger for sometime to come and we certainly support those efforts,” said Lakeview Hospital Regional Director Jenny Gensler.

Tulane says the work will be conducted in a secure biocontainment lab by dozens of researchers eager for success.

“That’s what’s so exciting about this work the NIH has given to Tulane University the charge to create a standard,” said Roy.

A standard which they hope will save lives around the world and here in the New Orleans area where coronavirus is especially deadly.

While Tulane is taking the lead under the $10 million NIH grant they will be collaborating with primate centers and research Institutions from around the world in their effort to find a coronavirus vaccine.

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