Community Jameel launches fund to tackle threat from COVID, other infectious diseases

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Community Jameel, the international organization tackling some of the world’s most urgent issues and challenges, has launched a fund to support infectious disease research.

The fund, in partnership with Imperial College London and King Abdulaziz University (KAU), will provide awards of up to $65,000 for projects to help better understand, prevent, diagnose, and treat coronavirus and other infectious diseases.

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In the past, the work enabled and supported by Community Jameel has led to significant new breakthroughs and achievements, including the discovery of the new antibiotic Halicin, critical modelling on the spread of COVID-19 and a Nobel-Prize-winning approach to global poverty alleviation.

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The first round of funding, launched on Tuesday, will support projects focused on the transmission of coronaviruses -- including COVID-19, SARS and MERS -- and also the pathogenesis of these diseases, or how they develop.

The Jameel Fund for Infectious Disease Research and Innovation (‘Jameel Fund’) will also fund complimentary research projects at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, with a view to strengthening research collaborations between Imperial College and Saudi universities in this field.

Imperial College’s South Kensington Campus in London, UK. (Courtesy: Community Jameel)
Imperial College’s South Kensington Campus in London, UK. (Courtesy: Community Jameel)

Professor Alice Gast, President of Imperial College London, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp relief the need to be able to respond quickly to infectious diseases to prevent their spread. This generous grant will create new opportunities for collaboration to protect future generations against this global threat, allowing us to move faster and go further. We are very grateful to Community Jameel for supporting this urgent work.”

George Richards, Director of Community Jameel, added: “By bridging between Imperial, a global leader in the COVID-19 response, and King Abdulaziz University, on the frontline of the MERS and COVID-19 outbreaks in Saudi Arabia, the Jameel Fund will enable international, peer-to-peer collaboration between two outstanding infectious disease research institutions.”

According to Fady Jameel, Vice Chairman of Community Jameel: “With the Jameel Fund, we aim to catapult forward new projects in the fight against coronaviruses and the diseases they cause, including COVID-19, SARS, and MERS. This year, as my family marks 75 years of philanthropy, we are proud to be collaborating with two top universities with which we have a long-standing track-record of collaboration.”

Read more: Saudi philanthropist Mohammed Jameel receives honorary knighthood

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