Vaccine & Treatment Research
Led by Biao He, the Fred C. Davison Distinguished University Chair in Veterinary Medicine at UGA, a team from the College of Veterinary Medicine is working with the University of Iowa to develop a vaccine candidate that uses the kennel cough virus that affects dogs but is harmless to people
Scott Pegan, director of the Center for Drug Discovery in the College of Pharmacy, is leading efforts to create an antiviral to combat the virus using drugs similar to those designed to cure other coronaviruses. Pegan is also working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to adapt a vaccine used against the virus that causes Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever to stop COVID-19.
Scientists in the lab of Ted Ross, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and director of UGA’s Center for Vaccines and Immunology, are developing and testing new vaccines and immunotherapies to fight the novel coronavirus. Researchers have already begun analyzing the viral genome to find the targets that will prompt the immune system to create protective antibodies.
Several UGA researchers—including teams led by Ross, Mark Jackwood, Jeffrey Hogan, and Ralph Tripp—are developing new diagnostic tests to detect COVID-19 that don’t rely as much on chemicals and lab materials that are in short supply.
Rob Woods, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, and his team at the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center have created a 3D model of protein “spikes” on the virus particle’s surface. The model helps researchers
understand how COVID-19 evades the immune response in order to latch onto cells in our airways and then physically force the virus through the cell membrane to infect us.
John Drake, Distinguished Research Professor in the Odum School of Ecology and director of the Center for the Ecology of Infectious Diseases, formed UGA’s Coronavirus Working Group with a team of about 30 scientists
focused on building and maintaining the COVID-19 Portal, an interactive tool that forecasts outbreak scenarios based on models created by Drake and his team.
Michelle VanDellen, associate professor of psychology, is working with more than 100 international social scientists
to collect data on societal factors that might predict the spread of COVID-19 with a project called PsyCorona.
Richard Slatcher, the Gail M. Williamson Distinguished Professor of Psychology, is collaborating with international colleagues to determine the psychological effects of sheltering in place with their “Love in the Time of COVID” project.
Eric Zeemering, associate professor of public affairs, is gathering information about how Georgia cities took action in the early days of the pandemic. This research could provide valuable lessons about how local governments responded to the crisis.