UAMS researchers report $38.8 million in COVID-19 funding over past year

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 476 views 

Since last year’s arrival of COVID-19, researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) have received nearly $38.8 million to help combat the disease, it said Wednesday (March 10).

The funding came primarily from state and federal sources. The state of Arkansas has provided $16.9 million, or 43.4% of the funds, while federal dollars have totaled $19.2 million, or 49.5%.

The funding has supported research across the board, including clinic- and hospital-based, lab-based and community-based projects. Examples include statewide antibody testing, multisite clinical trials of potential new treatments, education and prevention studies, mental health research, polling, surveys and more.

Private funding, primarily from pharmaceutical companies, has totaled $1.7 million for seven of 18 clinical trials so far. Nonprofits have provided $675,201 for four projects.

The Division of Research and Innovation has also invested $331,396 in UAMS funds to UAMS researchers for nine COVID-19 pilot research projects.

In recent years, UAMS has significantly increased its capacity for research with new infrastructure and resources through its Translational Research Institute. The institute in 2019 received a five-year, $24.2 million Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS).

The CTSA, awarded to only the highest performing research institutions in the U.S., has brought new research opportunities, attracting institutional collaborations and industry partners from outside Arkansas. Through February, the Translational Research Institute had led or assisted with UAMS’ 88 total COVID-19 studies.

Examples of the COVID-19-related grants include:

· Statewide SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing. Support came from $3.3 million in federal coronavirus aid that was then allocated by the Arkansas Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act Steering Committee created by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
· COVID-19 testing interventions in Northwest Arkansas. Funded by a $715,920 NIH Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostic (RADx) grant, this study aims to improve COVID-19 testing strategies for Pacific Islander and Latinx populations, which have been disproportionately affected by the disease.
· A study of disparities in the immune response to SARS-CoV-2. This study by researchers in the College of Public Health and College of Medicine is supported by a $1.3 million grant from the National Cancer Institute through the national Serological Sciences Network (SeroNet).
· A $940,000 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) grant to support digital health technology used to address COVID-19-related needs across Arkansas.

See examples of more COVID-19 research at this link.