Morgridge Institute for Research investigates methods to control COVID-19 and future pandemic

Virologists at the Morgridge Institute for Research are investigating the biology of viruses and their diseases in order to develop powerful new methods to not only control COVID-19 but stem the next pandemic.

According to the institute, COVID-19 illustrates how viral threats are growing more common, underscoring the expanding need for more potent antiviral protections. Those protections include broad-spectrum antivirals — drugs that would inhibit a broad range of viral pathogens.

Not only are virologists thinking about how to best use science available to end the pandemic as soon as possible, they’re also predicting future viral pandemics, said Tony Gitter, an investigator at the John W. and Jeanne M. Rowe Center for Research in Virology during a Morgridge Institute webinar.

“We could not predict that this would be a coronavirus that has such global effects, but virologists do expect that, under current conditions, we will see future viral pandemics emerge,” Gitter said. “So without the ability to know whether it will be influenza, coronavirus or something else, it really does demand that as virologists think about what the next steps are, (they) continue their ongoing work even in this pandemic to where those next steps lead to (and) have a much broader and more general strategy for protecting ourselves against those new viral pandemics.”

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