Quicker reviews, designated funding speeds COVID-19 research efforts at UF Health

Doctor Elias talking to fellow researchers
Dr. Elias Sayour (center) is among the recipients of a new pilot research fund for scientists with translational projects that can be rapidly mobilized for COVID-19 research.

Amid the worst public health emergency in a lifetime, UF Health leaders have taken steps to speed novel coronavirus research, recognizing the urgent need to provide answers and options to the communities they serve. There are two key components of this effort: IRB retooled its approval process for coronavirus trials, and the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute, or CTSI, set up a $2 million pilot research fund for scientists with translational projects that can be rapidly mobilized.

“These pilot awards are designed to support initiatives that will have a near-term impact within the next six months on efforts that will either allow for the diagnosis, prevention or the treatment of COVID-19 disease, or the SARS-2 virus,” said Duane A. Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D., director of the CTSI and co-director of the UF’s Preston A. Wells, Jr. Center for Brain Tumor Therapy,.

Elias Sayour, M.D., Ph.D., principal investigator of the RNA Engineering Laboratory within the Preston A. Wells, Jr. Center for Brain Tumor Therapy, received a $100,000 grant from CTSI to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 by adapting a vaccine formulated for cancer in his lab over the last several years.

Read the UF Health news release.