'Faced with global vaccine inequality and the rapid spread of variants of concern, the need for easily-accessible antiviral therapeutics to treat people with COVID-19 is as pressing as ever, especially in low- and middle-income countries,' said Annette von Delft, Translational Scientist at the University of Oxford and NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC).
'Most of the research and funding efforts early in the pandemic focused predominantly on repurposing of existing small molecule drugs and the more rapid development of novel monoclonal antibodies. Now, with the realization that COVID-19 will be a global issue for the foreseeable future we urgently need to develop novel antiviral therapeutics. We are therefore thrilled to receive this critical funding from Wellcome and hope it can lead to more support,' said Alpha Lee, Chief Scientific Officer at PostEra and Faculty Member at the University of Cambridge.
The Moonshot started as a spontaneous virtual collaboration in March 2020. As countries locked down, a group of scientists, academics, pharmaceutical research teams and students began a worldwide, twitter-fuelled race against the clock to identify new molecules that could block SARS-CoV-2 infection and develop pills that would be readily available to the most vulnerable communities.