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University of Oxford wins grant for drug trial to prevent Covid-19

$20m in total awarded by Therapeutics Accelerator to institutions to fund clinical trials

The University of Oxford is among the international research institutions receiving a grant from a $20 million call to fund clinical trials for coronavirus.

The grants, awarded by the Covid-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, will be used to advance studies of repurposed drugs and novel antibodies to help prevent Covid-19, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced on 30 March.

The Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit will use the funds it won, £7.5m, to lead a one-year placebo-controlled prophylaxis study of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in preventing Covid-19 in at-risk health care workers and other high-risk groups.

Other recipients in the first round of funding from the new Accelerator were the University of Washington and the La Jolla Institute for Immunology in California.

The accelerator was launched on 10 March by the foundation in partnership with the Wellcome Trust and Mastercard to speed the development of, and access to, therapies for the virus.

Oxford was also one of the big winners in the first round of £20m Covid-19 funding from UK Research and Innovation and National Institute for Health Research, winning three separate grants, two on vaccines and one on drugs.