How $4 Billion Funded Covid-19 Treatments and Lifesaving Vaccines

How federal funding helped scientists understand the Covid-19 virus, develop new treatments and deploy life-saving vaccines in record time

Author: University of Virginia Health System
Published: 2024/06/07
Post type: Informative – Peer Reviewed: Yeah
Content: SummaryIntroductionMajor – Related

Synopsis: The NIH is the largest public funder of biomedical research, so we believed it was vital to study how $4 billion of NIH funds were allocated and used during the pandemic. Scientists used the money to research not only science directly related to the virus itself, but also related areas such as vaccine hesitancy, effective vaccine distribution, health disparities and general virology (the study of virus). This work is the first to shed light on how billions of federal money were used to study and combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The framework and software we developed to study NIH funding helped us understand where and how funding was deployed and, even more, what topics researchers were studying with those funds.

Introduction

New research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine is shedding light on how federal funding helped scientists understand the COVID-19 virus, develop new treatments and deploy life-saving vaccines in record time.

Main summary

UVA Health researchers used advanced technology “machine learning” – a form of artificial intelligence – to analyze the thousands of scientific publications that resulted from the deployment of more than $4 billion by the National Institutes of Health to combat the pandemic. This analysis allowed researchers to categorize the types of research the money supported and determine how and where the funding was used to launch clinical trials of treatments and vaccines.

“The COVID-19 pandemic presented an unprecedented public health challenge. The scientific community needed to act quickly to find solutions not only to combat the virus, but also to understand how we can prevent something like this from happening again,” Taison said. D. Bell, MD, of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and the Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health at UVA Health. “The NIH is the largest public funder of biomedical research, so we believed it was vital to study how $4 billion of NIH funds were allocated and used during the pandemic.”

Continues below image.

The new analysis of how federal COVID-19 funds were used comes from Adishesh Narahari, MD, PhD of UVA Health; Anirudha Chandrabhatia; Taison D. Bell, MD; and Taylor Horgan – Image credit: Cecelia Rooney (UVA Health).

Continued…

Act quickly amid the COVID-19 pandemic

UVA researchers used advanced tools they have developed over the past eight years to analyze more than 14,600 scientific publications funded by more than 2,400 federal grants awarded between January 2020 and December 2021. Most of the publications appeared in peer-reviewed scientific journals. in pairs, but some appeared in what is known as “prepress servers”. Preprint servers allow scientists to share their discoveries with their colleagues quickly, but unlike peer-reviewed journals, the findings are not vetted by other scientists before publication.

UVA’s machine learning model determined that the top three research topics investigated in COVID-related publications were clinical trials and outcomes research (8.5% of articles), coronavirus-related heart and lung damage (7, 3%) and transmission/epidemiology of COVID-19. (7.2%). But UVA researchers found that scientists used the money to research not only science directly related to the virus itself, but also related areas such as vaccine hesitancy, effective vaccine distribution, health disparities and general virology (the study of viruses).

Five states received about half of the $4 billion in COVID-19 emergency funds, analysis reveals:

  • North Carolina
  • Washington
  • NY
  • California
  • Massachusetts

Of the more than 1,800 clinical trial sites testing treatments and vaccines, most, unsurprisingly, were in major urban areas where COVID had affected many people, the researchers found. (Clinical trials, in general, tend to be conducted in more urban areas where it is easier to recruit volunteers.)

The importance of preprints

In a new scientific paper describing their findings, UVA researchers point to the rise of preprint servers during the pandemic:

“During the pandemic, this rapid dissemination of basic science on preprint servers may have supported hypothesis generation and preliminary validation for groups to scale up their research,” they wrote.

“The higher proportion of cellular/molecular studies on preprint servers indicates that researchers may have wanted to accelerate access to highly valuable data early in the pandemic to encourage greater scientific research and collaboration at the basic science level in areas such as transmission of SARS CoV-2. and vaccine development there could also be an element where authors initially submitted preprints if they believed their work might be subject to a lengthy peer review process due, perhaps, to shortages. of reviewers at target journals during the pandemic.

The UVA researchers urge additional research to delve deeper into what they found and look at, for example, the results of other COVID funding sources, such as private philanthropy and the Department of Defense. By understanding how COVID research funding was used and the benefits it had, the country will be better prepared to respond to the next pandemic, they say.

“This work is the first to shed light on how billions of federal money was used to study and combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” said researcher Ani Chandrabhatla. “The framework and software we developed to study NIH funding helped us understand where and how funding was deployed and, even more, what topics researchers were studying with those funds.”

Published findings

The researchers published their findings in a pair of papers in the scientific journal. Open Forum Infectious Diseases. The research team included Adishesh K. Narahari, Anirudha S. Chandrabhatla, Taylor M. Horgan, D. Chris Gist, Mark A. Lantieri, Paranjay D. Patel, Jeffrey M. Sturek, Claire L. Davis, Patrick E. H. Jackson, and Taison D. Bell.

Attribution/Source(s):

This peer-reviewed publication titled How treatments against Covid-19 and vaccines that save lives were financed with 4 billion dollars was selected for publication by the editors of Disabled World due to its relevance to the disability community. While content may have been edited for style, clarity, or brevity, it was originally written by University of Virginia Health System and published on 06/07/2024. For more details or clarifications, you can contact University of Virginia Health System directly at virginia.edu Disabled World makes no warranty or endorsement related to this article.

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Cite this page (APA): University of Virginia Health System. (2024, June 7). How treatments against Covid-19 and life-saving vaccines were financed with 4 billion dollars. Disabled world. Retrieved June 9, 2024 from www.disabled-world.com/medical/lifeserved-vaccines.php

Permanent link: How treatments against Covid-19 and vaccines that save lives were financed with 4 billion dollars: The NIH is the largest public funder of biomedical research, so we believed it was vital to study how $4 billion of NIH funds were allocated and used during the pandemic.

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