It seems that there may be a new Valley of Death on the horizon of COVID therapeutic development. Earlier this month (9 JUL) NIAID posted a Funding Opportunities Announcement soliciting proposals related to COVID therapeutic development through their Antiviral Drug Discovery (AViDD) Centers for Pathogens of Pandemic Concern program (RFA-AI-21-050: Antiviral Drug Discovery (AViDD) Centers for Pathogens of Pandemic Concern (U19 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) (nih.gov). The objective of this solicitation is to establish a program of research focused on the discovery and development of new antiviral drug candidates to generate a more robust pipeline of novel antivirals. About the same time (6 JUL) another solicitation (SAM.gov) was published seeking proposals for the delivery of 500,000 treatment courses of COVID anti-viral therapeutics. About 15 years ago BARDA was established to address the so-called Valley of Death between preclinical NIH funding and procurement for a stockpile of MCMs and it at the moment it looks like a new valley is ahead for COVID therapeutics. BARDA was very successful in bridging that valley and hopefully they will receive ARD funding to bridge this one too.
A New Valley of Death? by Eric Jia-Sobota
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