The partners in the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator have announced grants of $20 million to fund clinical trials in order to identify highly potent immunotherapies for the COVID-19 pandemic.
These grants mark the first investments to come from the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, a large-scale initiative launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard to speed the development of and access to therapies for COVID-19.
The additional funds will allow the Accelerator to continue making grants to study repurposed drugs and investigate biological compounds for activity against COVID-19.
Two of the newly announced trials will fund an investigation of two well-established drugs, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, that have known antiviral properties.
These drugs have been used to treat malaria and a variety of rheumatological conditions for more than 50 years.
The trials aim to determine whether the drugs are effective as pre- and post-exposure preventive therapy for COVID-19.
The University of Washington and New York University School of Medicine will conduct a multi-site clinical trial, investigating whether hydroxychloroquine can effectively prevent COVID-19 in people already exposed to the infection.
Results will be available in late 2020.
The Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit will lead a placebo-controlled prophylaxis study of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in preventing COVID-19 in at-risk health care workers, frontline staff, and other high-risk groups.
Results will be available by the end of the year.
In addition to funding drug trials, the Accelerator will provide $1.73 million to the La Jolla Institute for Immunology to establish a Coronavirus Immunotherapy Consortium, known as CoVIC.
“Today’s grants are an important next step in the Therapeutic Accelerator’s commitment to identifying and scaling treatments to combat COVID-19,” said Mike Froman, vice chairman of Mastercard.