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Research

North Carolina Policy Collaboratory to receive state funds to study and fight coronavirus

Based at Carolina, the collaboratory is supporting COVID-19 research projects that are intended to provide new data and information to state lawmakers and policymakers to help guide the state’s response.

Am image of the coronavirus
This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. (illustration by CDC/Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM)

The North Carolina Policy Collaboratory based at UNC-Chapel Hill will receive $29 million to study treatment, community testing and prevention of COVID-19 under a $1.5 billion coronavirus relief package approved by state legislators last week and signed by Gov. Roy Cooper today. The bill includes $85 million for five North Carolina universities to study and fight the virus.

“We are grateful to our state legislators and Governor Cooper for entrusting Carolina’s world-class researchers and the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory based at UNC-Chapel Hill with $29 million to conduct vital research on the tracking, prevention and treatment of COVID-19,” said Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz. “This appropriation will enable UNC-Chapel Hill and our fellow UNC System institutions to deploy their researchers and resources to find more solutions for North Carolinians.”

UNC-Chapel Hill has been on the forefront of coronavirus research, having recently been named the highest-rated university in the United States for coronavirus research by Microsoft Academic. The nation’s coronavirus task force recently announced that remdesivir, which the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health performed early tests on, is effective at treating coronavirus and will be a standard of care for patients fighting COVID-19. The testing was led by Ralph Baric, the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Epidemiology, who has studied coronaviruses for more than 30 years and pioneered rapid-response approaches for the study of emerging viruses and the development of therapeutics.

“We were recently named the top university in the nation for coronavirus research and will continue this fight with the same focus and resolve that led our scientists to help develop the first effective treatment for COVID-19,” Guskiewicz said.

The North Carolina General Assembly established the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory in 2016 for the purposes of facilitating the dissemination of the policy and research expertise of the University of North Carolina System universities for practical use by state and local government. The collaboratory facilitates and funds research projects across the state. The collaboratory is supporting COVID-19 research projects that are intended to provide new data and information to state lawmakers and policymakers to help guide the state’s response.