More than £4 million of donations to Imperial's COVID-19 Response Fund is providing crucial support in the race for a vaccine against coronavirus.
Philanthropy is adding to the speed and flexibility of Imperial's efforts to defeat coronavirus. Professor Alice Gast President, Imperial College London
A landmark £2 million donation from the Partners of Citadel and Citadel Securities, as well as millions in other gifts, will be directed towards the work of Professor Robin Shattock and his team in Imperial College London’s Department of Infectious Disease who are working to create a viable vaccine against the novel coronavirus.
The news comes after the government announced that it would provide £22.5 million to fast-track the work of Professor Shattock's Lab, as Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP acknowledge Imperial as being at the forefront of the global effort to develop a vaccine, alongside Oxford.
This gift is the latest in Citadel’s philanthropic response to the COVID-19 crisis, which to date has amounted to over $20 Million in aid. “We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the doctors, nurses and researchers battling COVID-19 both on the frontlines and in the laboratory,” said Ken Griffin, Founder and CEO of Citadel. “My partners and I are proud to support these heroes who are working tirelessly to protect our communities and bring us out of this pandemic.”
Imperial is seeking further philanthropic support to conduct parallel international trials to accelerate progress and ensure the vaccine is widely available globally, including in low and middle-income countries.
The Imperial team has been testing an RNA vaccine candidate in animals since February, with early findings showing that animals given the vaccine are able to produce neutralizing antibodies against COVID-19. They will now establish whether the vaccine can produce the same promising response in humans. Clinical trials are expected to start in June, subject to regulatory and ethical approval.
Professor Alice Gast, President of Imperial College London, said: "Citadel's generous support will accelerate Professor Robin Shattock and his group’s crucial research to develop a novel saRNA COVID-19 vaccine for rapid and affordable deployment. Philanthropy is adding to the speed and flexibility of Imperial's efforts to defeat coronavirus. From virology and epidemiology to testing, tracking and tracing: this multinational, multidisciplinary struggle needs visionary donors like Ken Griffin and his partners."
This donation builds on a groundswell of support from alumni and donors following the launch of Imperial’s COVID-19 Response Fund. More than £4 million of donations has been raised for Professor Shattock's vaccine work, including £1 million from the Sir Joseph Hotung Charitable Settlement and £440k from The Jon Moulton Charity Trust. Other key donors include Restore Our Planet, who gifted £25k to the effort.
The COVID-19 Reponse Fund was launched in March to bolster existing funding and provide flexible support for COVID-19 projects across Imperial to speed up the College’s work to tackle the crisis. It is seeded by central funding from Imperial, with the President’s Fund providing initial financial support.
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