Philanthropy giant pledges millions to help find coronavirus cure
23 March 2020 at 5:48 pm
It’s the first round of grants from the foundation to support COVID-19-related research
One of Australia’s wealthiest philanthropic foundations is giving out $9 million to universities and research groups in a bid to find a cure for COVID-19 and support vulnerable communities.
The Paul Ramsay Foundation announced on Sunday that a $3.5 million grant would go to the University of Queensland to assist finding and developing a COVID-19 vaccine. The grant is part of a $23.5 million program to finance the vaccine development.
The Peter Doherty Institute will also receive $2 million to help develop a passive immunisation treatment to protect against COVID-19, which if successful, would provide immediate protection against infection, but would need to be renewed every two months.
A further $2 million will go towards developing a targeted response for high-risk communities, particularly Indigenous communities.
And $1.5 million will support existing grant partners whose work has been impacted by the economic effects of COVID-19.
Paul Ramsay Foundation CEO Professor Glyn Davis AC said that it was incumbent on the foundation to support efforts to control and contain the virus.
“Vulnerable communities are hit hardest in times of crisis and that is why we have announced today our phase one response to the pandemic which will assist in accelerating work to find a vaccine and other treatments,” Davis said.
Bushfire support will still continue
In early January, the foundation pledged $30 million to support the bushfire recovery, with the majority of the money ($27 million) earmarked for longer-term work with fire affected communities.
Davis said that while COVID-19 had “understandably dominated” the news and lives of people across the globe, bushfire communities could not be forgotten, and support would continue.
“We believe our work to assist fire-ravaged and drought-affected communities should continue along with the COVID-19 grants we are announcing today,” he said.
“We know that those in regional Australia who were already disadvantaged before the fires, will be doubly so in their aftermath while also dealing with the impact of COVID-19.”