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April 23, 2020

NIAID lays out its four Covid-19 research priorities

By Allie Nawrat

The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) has outlines its four, key research priorities against Covid-19. These will require more dedicated funding and collaboration both within the US and internationally.

The first centres on improving scientific knowledge about the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19, in order to better understand its characteristics, how it is spread and why it affects certain individuals much more severely than others. There is also a need to investigate the role of asymptomatic individuals in the spread of the disease, as well as find out if this is likely to be a seasonally circulating virus.

The second focuses on developing rapid, accurate diagnostics and assays for Covid-19 to help track the spread of the virus. The institute also calls for serological or antibody tests to be developed to improve knowledge about who has been infected with the virus.

The third prioritises repurposing and developing new treatments against Covid-19. Particular therapies and drug classes picked out by the NIAID include broad spectrum anti-virals and monoclonal antibodies.

Finally, the fourth discusses the need for safe and effective vaccines to combat the current pandemic and future outbreaks of Covid-19. The institute notes the work being done to adapt vaccines produced for previous coronavirus outbreaks.

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