UAB launches second round of high-impact COVID-19 research

UAB launches second round of high-impact COVID-19 research
(Source: UAB)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama business leader donors are making it possible for a second round of research that could have a high impact on the COVID-19 crisis within weeks or months.

Ten new pilot projects, funded by $402,000 in donations, began Aug. 1. The projects will last six months.

This round of research grants follows 14 projects advertised to faculty of the UAB School of Medicine that were funded beginning May 1, after the Birmingham and Montgomery business community raised $1.1 million in just 20 days in March and April. Part of that money is helping fund this second round.

“The number of high-quality proposals we received made the decision on which ones we could fund very difficult,” said Kent Keyser, Ph.D., associate vice president in the Office of Research, who managed the second round and led the review process. “These projects, together with the 14 projects funded in May by the UAB School of Medicine, show once again that UAB is at the forefront in fighting COVID-19. We are grateful for the philanthropic support that made the program possible.”

Here are the titles of the funded grants:

  • Clonal diversity of human antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 S-protein.
  • Glucocorticoid treatment of COVID-19 cytokine storm syndrome.
  • Therapeutics targeting COVID-19 entry into pulmonary epithelial cells.
  • Immunotyping COVID-related acute respiratory distress syndrome.
  • Circulating microbiota and microbial endotoxin drive uncontrolled immune activation of blood monocytes in COVID-19.
  • Development of a tri-specific neutralizing antibody for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
  • Individual- and area-level risk factors for COVID-19 disparities in the Deep South.
  • Exploratory study of the effect of tranexamic acid treatment on the progression of COVID-19 in outpatients.
  • Molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of acute respiratory distress syndrome in critically ill SARS-CoV-2-infected patients.
  • Neutrophils as a driving mechanism of acute respiratory distress syndrome and death in COVID-19 patients.

“We are deeply grateful to our local and national philanthropic partners for quickly responding with critical support needed to accelerate UAB’s COVID-19 research efforts,” said Jessica Towns, UAB School of Medicine’s executive director of Development. “Through our recent Day of Caring and ongoing fundraising initiatives, we have seen tremendous generosity from the community. This support provides significant resources and encouragement to our scientists, faculty, staff and students during this challenging time.”

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