The Jack Ma Foundation has announced a $2.15 million grant to the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne, Australia, to accelerate the development of a coronavirus vaccine.
A joint venture between the University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital, the institute will use the grant to support efforts in three areas: development of an active vaccine platform that stimulates the body to produce antibodies to attack the virus; development of a passive platform for the direct transfer of antibodies to a non-immune individual; and efforts to ensure the efficacy, safety, and readiness of the vaccine for phase-one human trials. In January, the institute's scientists became the first to successfully grow the novel coronavirus in laboratory cell culture outside China.
The grant is part of a $14.4 million commitment announced by the foundation in January in support of efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine; in February, the foundation awarded a $2.1 million grant to Columbia University.
"The Jack Ma Foundation and I will exhaust our abilities to provide more help to the development and growth of medical science," said Ma.
"Together with active surveillance, quarantine, and other public health interventions, a vaccine is the most effective means of preventing new infections at scale in a population," said Doherty Institute director and University of Melbourne professor Sharon Lewin. "If transmission continues as predicted, safe and effective vaccines will be needed to help sustain long-term approaches to disease control and to prevent severe mortality and morbidity over time."