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Pitt college, pro teams donate $800K to COVID-19 research

8College and professional sports teams in Pittsburgh teamed up to donate $800,000 to the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Vaccine Research, which is working on a vaccine for COVID-19.

The families of Pitt football coach Pat Narduzzi, men’s basketball coach Jeff Capel, women’s basketball coach Lance White and athletic director Heather Lyke donated a combined $500,000, while the Penguins, Steelers and Pirates donated $100,000 each.

“Nothing great in life is ever achieved alone,” Lyke said in a statement Wednesday morning. “Pitt Athletics is honored to join forces with the Penguins, Pirates and Steelers in support of the Center for Vaccine Research and its extraordinary researchers. April marked the 65th anniversary of Dr. Jonas Salk’s victory over polio and it is apparent that funding for vaccine research remains as crucial as ever. David and I are proud to support CVR’s mission of making the world a healthier, safer place.”

This year marks the 65th anniversary of Salk and his team developing the polio vaccine while working at the University of Pittsburgh.

“We are stunned by the generosity and support the Pittsburgh community has shown for our center over the past few months, most recently from Pitt Athletics and our local sports teams — the Steelers, Pirates and Penguins,” CVR director Paul Duprex said in a statement. “That’s the legacy of Jonas Salk on this town. Pittsburgh understands the importance of vaccines, and we’re so grateful to be located here, where we can do our work to combat COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, knowing the community is behind us.”

The news comes just days after a university research assistant professor, identified as Bing Liu, was found shot to death Saturday in what is believed to be a murder-suicide.

Liu was working on a potential coronavirus vaccine and was “on the verge of making very significant findings toward understanding the cellular mechanisms that underlie (COVID-19),” the university’s Department of Computational and Systems Biology said in a statement.

According to the latest data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1.2 million Americans have been infected by COVID-19 and more than 68,000 have died from the disease. The virus has accounted for nearly 3.7 million infections and more than 250,000 deaths worldwide.

–Field Level Media

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