Ragon Institute Members Receive Funding from MassCPR for COVID-19 Projects

Date: May 13, 2020 By:

As part of its COVID-19 response, the Ragon Institute is working within the Massachusetts Consortium for Pathogen Readiness, a multi-institutional initiative convened by Harvard Medical School and the Ragon Institute, to combat the disease and to prepare for future outbreaks. Ragon Institute director, Bruce Walker, MD, serves as co-director and founding member, and many of our members, steering committee members, and group leaders are working within the MassCPR to combat COVID-19. 


“I think most of us pursued careers in science hoping that we would someday have the opportunity to work on something that truly had meaning and that would allow us to work together in collaboration rather than competition,” said Walker. “I feel we have found that here in the MassCPR.”



The MassCPR today announced the awarding of over $16.5 million in funding to support 62 research projects that address the most pressing challenges of the pandemic. Funding was provided by the China Evergrande Group and donations, including support of $1 million or more each from Mark and Lisa Schwartz, the MLSC and the Bertarelli Foundation. 


“We’re thrilled to be supporting MassCPR in unraveling the mysteries of SARS CoV2.  We believe we’re investing in the best doctors and scientists in the world and we hope our financial support will help establish the best testing protocols, the most effective treatments and the safest vaccines,” says donors Mark and Lisa Schwartz.


Six of the awards were given to Ragon Institute members. 

1) “Systems based Fc-engineering to accelerate therapeutic monoclonal antibody design to COVID-19”
PI: Galit Alter, Group Leader at the Ragon Institute
2) “Protective immunity to SARS-CoV-2 by natural infection and vaccination”
PI: Dan Barouch, Director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Steering Committee Member at the Ragon Institute
3) “Open label randomized controlled phase 2 study of the use of favipiravir compared to standard of care in hospitalized subjects with COVID-19”
PI: Boris Juelg, HMS assistant professor, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Associate Member of the Ragon Institute
4) “Production of the receptor-binding domains (RBDs) from human coronaviruses (CoVs)”
PI: Aaron Schmidt, Group Leader at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard
5) “A highly networked, exosome-based SARS-CoV-2 vaccine”
PI: Bruce Walker, Director of the Ragon Institute
6) “COVID-19 sample procurement, processing, storage, and sharing/distribution”
PIs: Xu Yu, Group Leader at the Ragon Institute, Jonathan Li, Brigham and Women’s Hospital,, and Lindsey Baden, Brigham and Women’s Hospital


The total list of projects can be found on: https://masscpr.hms.harvard.edu/projects



MassCPR will host a livestreamed public briefing from 8 to 9:30 a.m. ET on May 15 to provide updates from the consortium’s research working groups and to describe the funded projects. Speakers from the Ragon Institute, including Bruce Walker, will be part of the briefing. 

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