The Jack Ma Foundation has donated $2.15 million to accelerate the development of a coronavirus vaccine.
The foundation on Monday signed an agreement with the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Australia to support the research and development of treatment options for the Covid-19 virus. A joint venture between the University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital, the Doherty Institute is a renowned center for scientific and medical research. In January, its scientists became the first to successfully grow the novel coronavirus in laboratory cell culture outside of China – an achievement that has been instrumental in aiding better understanding and diagnoses of the virus globally.
Funding from the Jack Ma Foundation will go toward developing an active vaccine platform, which would stimulate the production of antibodies in healthy individuals, as well as a passive platform that would transfer antibodies to non-immune individuals. The donation would also be used to ensure the efficacy, safety and readiness of the vaccine for first-phase human trials.
“While the path to creating a vaccine is complex, we have the expertise and infrastructure here at the Doherty Institute to take on this task, and now, thanks to the Jack Ma Foundation, the funding to accelerate this significant project,” said Professor Sharon Lewin, director of the institute
Professor Christine Kilpatrick, CEO of the Royal Melbourne Hospital, also thanked the Jack Ma Foundation for its contribution to combating the virus that has so far infected more than 90,000 people since its detection in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei Province, last December.
“This important funding will help continue the efforts of our scientists in finding a vaccine and treatment for Covid-19 as part of the global effort to seek solutions to this worldwide health issue,” he said.
The donation is part of an ongoing commitment from the Jack Ma Foundation to support vaccine development and other initiatives to tackle coronavirus. Last month, the foundation also awarded a $2.15 million grant to researchers at Columbia University to identify antiviral drugs and antibodies. The foundation has pledged a total of $14.4 million toward coronavirus-relief efforts.
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