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Coronavirus centre of excellence formed

SFI pumps extra finances into leads that could stop the Covid-19 pandemic

Science Foundation Ireland has announced the creation of a €4.8-million Covid-19 centre of excellence that will delve into the genetics of the virus and help develop vaccines and therapeutics.

Trinity College Dublin will host the research partnership. which will be led by scientists Kingston Mills and Aideen Long at the university’s biomedical sciences institute and its translational medicine institute, the government said on 3 July.

The centre also includes scientists working at the University of Limerick and at University College Dublin. Funding for the centre comes from Science Foundation Ireland and from Allied Irish Banks.

International researchers working in the United States, Netherlands, France, Hong Kong and the UL are also involved, the government said.

Simon Harris, the freshly installed minister for higher education, innovation and science, announced the funding in one of his first public announcements undertaken in this newly created cabinet seat.

The global pandemic clearly showed “how science and research had never been more important as we attempt to cope with the virus”, Harris said. Such research was of “national importance”, given the societal and economic impact of the pandemic, he said.

The researchers hope to shed light on why some people are more susceptible to Covid-19 than others as a way to help design treatments against the disease, the statement said.