“Why don’t we start thinking about how we can prevent the next pandemic, even while at the same time working to solve the current problem?”
A UNC initiative is looking to create five new antiviral drugs to better prepare for future viral outbreaks.
READDI, or the Rapidly Emerging Antiviral Drug Discovery Initiative, is a collaboration between scientists at UNC’s School of Medicine, the Eshelman School of Pharmacy and the Gillings School of Global Public Health.
Nat Moorman is a faculty member in UNC’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology and one of the founders of READDI.
He said creating antiviral drugs in preparation for an outbreak is not a new idea. UNC’s Infectious Disease Drug Discovery Program, the precursor to READDI, was already working to find drugs that would inhibit viruses a year and a half before COVID-19 emerged. Now, Moorman said the program has expanded to achieve a larger goal.
“Why don’t we start thinking about how we can prevent the next pandemic, even while at the same time working to solve the current problem,” Moorman said. “So, that was really the genesis of READDI – was to take our existing program and instead of thinking about things we already knew about, thinking about how we could apply that same approach to prevent the next virus, so that we’re ready for SARS3 or SARS4 or whatever virus emerges next.”
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