The Morgridge Institute for Research will broadcast a free webinar lecture on Tuesday, June 2 to offer insight on the basic science behind the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of virology research at Morgridge, and how that research will provide new ways to combat emerging viral threats.
The webinar, titled "Overcoming COVID-19 and future pandemics: new tools to control viral threats" will be the first installment of the Fearless Science Speaker Series.
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"Everyone agrees that there will be another pandemic, we just don't know when it will happen or where it will originate," says Brad Schwartz, chief executive officer of the Morgridge Institute. "The pandemic we are now living through has shown us how important it is to be ready for the next one."
Schwartz will moderate the discussion along with Paul Ahlquist, director of the John W. and Jeanne M. Rowe Center for Research in Virology, and investigator Anthony Gitter.
The webinar speakers will address how the COVID-19 pandemic is not unique, but rather a part of the larger realm of emerging pathogenic viruses that include influenza, Ebola, SARS, Zika and more. To prevent the next big viral pandemic, there is a need to develop more powerful tools that will provide deeper understanding of the general mechanisms that drive viral infection.
"The Morgridge Institute virology program has the long-term goal of developing molecules that inhibit a whole class of viral threats, rather than having to develop a separate agent for every virus, which is the current situation," says Schwartz. "If we had such broad spectrum anti-viral agents, we would be in a much better position to respond quickly to a virus that originally infected another animal, and made the transition to people."
While responding to the current impacts of COVID-19 is a priority, the Morgridge Institute also emphasizes the investment in long-term, innovative solutions that will help mitigate the devastating risks of novel viruses, which would be an important benefit to society. Schwartz adds: "Thinking about a long-term scientific goal is an important part of the culture at Morgridge."
Register now for the free webinar:
Overcoming COVID-19 and future pandemics: new tools to control viral threats
Tuesday, June 2
4 p.m. CDT