The University of Michigan is earning $ 13.8 million to set up a pandemic preparation center

ANN ARBOR – Researchers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic around the world agree on one thing: this will not be the last pandemic.

“Since 2000, we have had three human coronaviruses causing outbreaks or the current pandemic,” Aubree Gordon, an infectious disease expert at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, said in a press release. “And we had three influenza viruses trying to make the leap from animals to humans, and one succeeded. So what is the likelihood that we will see another pandemic in our lives? I would say the probability is pretty high. “

The Biosciences Initiative will allocate US $ 13.8 million over five years to UM to create the Michigan Center for Infectious Diseases. Gordon will lead the center, where researchers from various disciplines work on preparing for and responding to infectious diseases.

To this end, they will increase laboratory capacity, strengthen public health staff, add tests for zoonotic agents and expand “protein production for disease testing,” according to a press release.

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“The overall goal of the center is to connect researchers here on campus and to better prepare the University of Michigan for pandemic preparedness and response, both locally and globally, to create a community here on campus that deals with infectious diseases turns, “said Gordon, associate professor of epidemiology, said in a statement. “The center will create synergies between our various faculties and departments and make us competitive in recruiting scientists to fill critical gaps in the research areas.”

Before SARS-CoV-2 arrived in the US, Gordon said many experts had warned of the country’s lack of preparation for the next pandemic.

“The world wasn’t ready for the pandemic, our nation wasn’t ready for the pandemic, and our campus wasn’t ready for the pandemic,” she said in a statement.

Gordon said UM is poised to lead new and re-emerging infectious diseases because of its “exceptionally” strong programs. These include immunology, virology, infectious disease epidemiology, biotechnology, pharmaceutical sciences, and mathematical modeling.

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In addition to these specialties, Gordon said, the UM Center for Public Policy and Social Science Research is a national leader and essential for responding to pandemics.

“The MCIDT is a great example of what the initiative aims to do to bring together scientists from across UM to address critical emerging problems in the life sciences,” said Roger Cone, director of the Biosciences Initiative, in a press release.

“With this funding, we hope that when the next pandemic occurs, we will be equipped with all of the university’s resources at our disposal to provide the best possible response,” Gordon added in a statement.

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