CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — Today, Congressman David Price (NC-04) announced that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) Gillings School of Global Public Health a $65 million grant to establish an Antiviral Drug Discovery Center.

The Discovery Center is one of nine centers in the country established by the NIH. The center will expand upon and be affiliated with the work of UNC’s Rapidly Emerging Antiviral Drug Development Initiative, which has led the way in efforts to ensure the antiviral drugs will be immediately available when the next public health threat emerges.

This grant comes after President Biden’s June 2021 announcement of more than $3 billion from American Rescue plan dollars to accelerate the discovery, development and manufacturing of antiviral medicines as a part of a new “Antiviral Program for Pandemics.”

This strategy is being implemented through a collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which has provided $577 million to support the creation of the nine AViDD Centers for Pathogen of Pandemic Concern.  

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of lifesaving antiviral therapies as an essential component of pandemic response. I’m pleased that UNC’s READDI will be expanding their efforts to work alongside eight other centers to contribute to the rapid development of COVID and other antiviral therapeutics,” said Congressman David Price (NC-04). “With this significant federal funding, UNC will continue to play an instrumental role in providing cutting edge contributions to the field of public health.”  

“At Carolina, we talk about practical applications of our research to improve society and the public good. Faced with the threat of COVID-19, our world-class scientists did not back down,” said UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz.

“Their continued pursuit of solutions saved lives, and this recent award recognizes the profound impact of that work. We are extremely grateful for this federal research partnership and funding, which enables us to perform cutting-edge research and prepare for whatever might be next on the horizon.”