CSU secures federal funding for COVID-19 vaccine research

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. (KDVR) — The race is on to develop a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. Colorado State University (CSU) is part of that global effort. On Thursday, the university announced new funding from the federal government to help the project move forward.

“We can vaccinate animals and we can prevent those animals form getting disease when challenged with live virus at very high levels,” said Ray Goodrich, executive director of the Infectious Disease Research Center at CSU.

Goodrich said they launched testing on the vaccine method in February. This week, his team secured $699,994 in funding from Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. The agency falls under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Now you have to figure out how to you make it. How do you make in very large quantities very quickly?” said Goodrich.

CSU is adapting an already used vaccine process used in blood transfusions known as SolaVAX. The technology uses UV light and riboflavin to inactivate the virus. Goodrich says it stands out from other vaccine candidates because of how it stops the virus. Goodrich pointed out other methods use harsh chemicals.

“It often requires more product, more material, more vaccinations,” said Goodrich.

When asked how long it could be before they move on to testing on humans, he said his best guess would be 18-24 months.

CSU also announced the school is contributing $448,143 to the project. The research will now be done at the university’s bio-manufacturing plant, one of only 14 research facilities of its kind in the country.

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