AlphaVax Receives $4.8 Million Grant for Fight Against SARS

Federal funds to be used to develop vaccine against severe acute respiratory syndrome — the deadly infectious disease that appeared in 2003.AlphaVax has enlisted by the federal government to assist in finding a vaccine to fight the deadly SARS disease.

SARS, or sever acute respiratory syndrome, first struck in 2003.

AlphaVax has been awarded a three-year, $4.8 million grant to develop a vaccine. The funds are coming from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

SARS is a deadly disease, infecting more than 8,000 people and spreading quickly around the world. Some 10 percent of people struck by the disease died.

Jonathan Smith, chief scientific officer at AlphaVax, will be the principal investigator.

“We are gratified to receive this important new award,” Smith said in a statement. “Together with all our other peer-reviewed NIH-funded vaccine programs, this reflects the significant potential our technology has to generate new vaccines against many of the diseases that represent the most important challenges to public health – whether long-established or new and emergent threats – including the significant threat represented by SARS.”

AlphaVax has already worked with the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and with Southern Research Institute in Birmingham, Alabama in the SARS fight.

AlphaVax has raised more than $20 million in venture capital and another $20 million through various grants. It utilizes technology developed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.