Office of Research New Working Group Advances COVID-19 Research at UC Davis - Office of Research

New Working Group Advances COVID-19 Research at UC Davis

Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (round magenta objects) emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. SARS-CoV-2, also known as 2019-nCoV, is the virus that causes COVID-19. The virus shown was isolated from a patient in the U.S. (NIH NIAID-RML)

By Lisa Howard

March 25, 2020

The Office of Research has launched a COVID-19 Research Working Group to help faculty, postdocs and students connect with collaborators and funding opportunities. A websiteSlack channelSympa email list and curated list of funding opportunities have been set up. There are also weekly teleconferences.

While non-critical on-site research activities have been ramped down on campus, critical research, which includes COVID-19 research with a timeline relevant to the current pandemic, is continuing.

Ana Lucia Cordova and Meg Sparling from the Interdisciplinary Research and Strategic Initiatives division in the Office of Research, are coordinating the effort. Campus researchers who are interested in contributing to the knowledge and containment of COVID-19 are invited to join the working group.

“The participants in the working group are from a wide range of disciplines. We have people from economics, social sciences and the humanities as well as genomics, computer science and immunology, just to name a few,” said Cordova. “This pandemic is touching almost every aspect of life around the globe. Researchers want to use their expertise to help and we are here to facilitate that.”

The virtual meetings, which take place twice a week, give researchers a chance to talk about their areas of expertise and discuss ideas with fellow researchers that could help with the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s also a way to stay connected with the campus community and crowdsource information and resources at a time when many faculty and staff are working remotely.

The Sponsored Programs Office is giving COVID-19 proposals priority because of the urgency of the work. And although the unit is working remotely, they are operating during their normal schedule, processing grant submissions and awards.

Nine COVID-19 proposals have been submitted to date. Research topics include effective municipal response to the pandemic; a vaccine candidate; a predictive model of how pandemics grow; a therapeutic; and RNA-targeted therapies. Two proposals have already received funding for placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trials to evaluate the efficacy and safety of two therapeutics.



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