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U.S. scientists collaborate in worldwide search for COVID-19 cure (May 18)
May 18, 2020

U.S. researchers are joining forces with scientists around the world to find solutions that will end the COVID-19 pandemic.

The collaboration ranges from experiments to adapt a measles vaccine to prevent COVID-19 to efforts to understand how the human immune system’s antibodies attack the coronavirus.

Collaboration and transparency are hallmarks of U.S. scientific research and are essential to solving the world’s great challenges.

Here are a few examples of how U.S. research collaborations are fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Man looks at test tubes in black and white photo
Dr. Jonas Salk, the developer of the polio vaccine, looks at test tubes in his Pittsburgh lab in 1954. (© AP Images)

France and Austria

The University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Vaccine Research (CVR) is partnering with researchers in Paris and Vienna to develop and test a vaccine for COVID-19 based on an existing vaccine for measles.

The University of Pittsburgh, where Dr. Jonas Salk created the first polio vaccine in 1954, is working with the Institut Pasteur in Paris and Themis Bioscience in Vienna.

“There are virologists all around the world who have been trained for this moment,” said CVR Director Paul Duprex. “We have colleagues in many parts of the world who collaborate and work with us to share information and share knowledge because this is important.”

The University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Vaccine Research is part of an international consortium of three organizations receiving a $4.9 million grant to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. https://t.co/8uHk3BaXol

— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (@PittsburghPG) March 19, 2020


The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) is working with Sheba Medical Center, the largest hospital in Israel, to develop experimental treatments.

Sheba Medical Center will give blood samples to the NIH, including plasma and COVID-19 virus samples, from infected patients in Israel.

“I am certain that we will be able to contribute much to the resolution not only of this current pandemic but also of emerging infections in the future,” Dr. Daniel Douek, with the NIH Vaccine Research Center, told the Times of Israel.

Hong Kong

Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, along with researchers at the University of Hong Kong are mapping the structure of the coronavirus to help guide vaccine development.

The partnership recently produced an image showing where on the virus’s surface the immune system attacks in response to a COVID-19 infection.

“Those sites are of special interest because they highlight spots on a virus that are vulnerable to attack — and, as such, potentially good targets for vaccine designers,” said NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins. The NIH funds the Scripps laboratory.