La Jolla Institute For Immunology Joins Battle Against COVID-19

The Editors | June 17, 2020 | People

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La Jolla Institute for Immunology was founded 32 years ago with a mission to understand the power of the immune system and its tremendous implications for human health and has since made numerous advances in eradicating disease. Today, LJI has joined the front line in the battle against COVID-19 by launching a multilab coronavirus task force.

An integral part of LJI’s COVID-19 research efforts is the Coronavirus Immunotherapy Consortium (CoVIC), which was established thanks to a $1.73 million grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome and Mastercard as part of the Gates Foundation’s efforts to curb the spread of the current outbreak.

Headquartered at LJI’s world-class biomedical research facility in University of California San Diego’s Science Research Park, CoVIC serves as a clearinghouse to determine the antibodies that are most effective against the novel coronavirus and to accelerate the research pipeline to provide immunotherapeutics to protect vulnerable individuals around the world from severe cases of COVID-19. “Antibody therapies represent the most rapid novel therapeutic path forward for emerging viruses such as SARS- CoV-2,” says Erica Ollmann Saphire, PhD, a professor in LJI’s Center for Infectious Disease and Vaccine Research and head of CoVIC. “Potent antibody treatments can protect front-line healthcare workers, contacts and others who are likely to have been exposed.”

LJI COO Stephen Wilson, PhD, adds: “In real time, the Gates Foundation had enabled the institute to quickly shift research priorities and mobilize the tremendous expertise and resources available at the institute and through collaboration have a global impact.”

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Photography by: Courtesy of La Jolla Institute For Immunology