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Jack Ma Foundation has awarded a $2.1m grant to four research teams at Columbia University to identify antiviral drugs and antibodies that can be used against the Covid-19 coronavirus.

The grant will be split between the four teams, which will partner with academic researchers in China trying to control the spread of the coronavirus epidemic.

Teams from Columbia will explore four different methods to develop drugs and antibodies that can stop viral replication.

Each of the different approaches will be based on previous knowledge from the successes of antiviral therapies formulated against HIV and hepatitis C.

Columbia teams will pursue projects aimed at identifying or developing two types of antiviral drugs and one type of virus-neutralizing antibody

The teams will aim to develop one type of virus-neutralizing antibody and two types of antiviral drugs.