The AXA Research Fund will earmark 5M Euro of its project funding budget to further develop responses to infectious diseases and COVID-19, including post-crisis solution building.
Key areas of support will include: helping low-and middle-income countries strengthen their primary health care systems and infrastructure including early warning systems; the development of safe and effective vaccines and antivirals; the study of the economic and social consequences of the crisis as well as the corollary solutions - especially on vulnerable populations; the continued support to climate and biodiversity research and their related effects on health, disease and epidemics.
This 5M Euro commitment adds up to a 7.4M Euro already dedicated to over 35 projects from top tier institutions in the area of infectious diseases and pandemics.
In early March 2020, the AXA Research Fund was the first funder of the Pasteur Institute COVID-19 Task Force, dedicated to understanding the virus and its pathogenesis; developing new diagnostic tools and vaccine candidates; searching for antibodies that may have therapeutic applications; developing & modeling epidemiology and drafting outbreak control strategies. This brought the Fund’s total support to the world-renowned Pasteur Institute to over 2M Euro.
The AXA Research Fund also supports the Open COVID-19 initiative by JOGL (Just One Giant Lab), an open source platform created by former AXA Fellow Thomas Landrain. So far, more than 3,000 contributors including engineers, researchers and computer scientists have joined the program from all continents and are working in open source mode to develop solutions in diagnostics, therapy and treatment, with a focus on low-cost solutions to respond to the crisis, including masks, ventilators and diagnosis tests.
The AXA Research Fund also supports the new JEDI Covid-19 challenge launched by the Joint European Disruptive Initiative (JEDI). This challenge invites scientific teams to screen billions of molecules with blocking interactions relevant to SARS-CoV-2, and fast-track the route to a therapeutic treatment.
This new commitment to additional support on infectious diseases and pandemics will bring the AXA Research Fund’s financial support in this area to over 13M Euros.