Harvard University has announced grants totaling $16.5 million in support of sixty-two research projects focused on combatting COVID-19 and preparing for future pandemics.
Awarded by the Massachusetts Consortium on Pathogen Readiness (MassCPR), the funding will support projects conducted by researchers from fifteen institutions aimed at advancing COVID-related vaccine and therapeutic development, diagnostic tools, clinical management, and epidemiology. Recipients include Ann Moormann (University of Massachusetts Medical School), who will conduct SARS-CoV2 sero-surveys to examine past exposure and the virus's spread through the population, how long antibodies persist in the body after exposure to the virus, and whether children and adults engage different immune system components in fighting the virus; and Timothy Erickson (Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital), who will test wastewater for SARS-CoV-2 as a way to generate open-source maps of localized outbreaks.
Launched in March as part of a research agreement between Harvard and the China Evergrande Group, MassCPR encourages open collaboration through mechanisms such as videoconference working sessions. The consortium includes scientists and clinicians from Harvard, MIT, Boston University, Tufts University, the University of Massachusetts, as well as local biomedical research institutes, biotech companies, and academic medical centers.
"The true value of MassCPR is bringing us together to discuss the priorities and challenges we are all facing," said Moormann. "The MassCPR working sessions provide a collaborative setting in which to integrate new information and more rapidly respond to the ever-evolving landscape of this pandemic."
"I think many of us pursue careers in science hoping that we would someday have the opportunity to work on something that truly had meaning and that would allow us to work together in collaboration rather than competition," said Bruce Walker, the Phillip T. and Susan M. Ragon Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a member of the collaboration's governing committee. "I feel we have found that here in MassCPR."