COVID-19 Research Fund

This campaign ends on December 31 at 11:59PM EST

Fordham COVID-19 Response Efforts

Around the world, life has changed as a result of COVID-19. But with the help of donor generosity, Fordham is responding.


$429,387
Fordham COVID-19 Response Efforts
$2,360
COVID-19 Research Fund
659 Donors
98 days Remain
$429,387 Donated

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Professor Berish Rubin of Fordham’s Department of Biological Sciences has worked in the field of virology for 25 years and received an exception from the Governor’s office to remain in his lab working on COVID-19 research since the crisis began. He and his colleague, Dr. Sylvia Anderson, are engaged in a short-term, intensive research program to respond to the urgent need for a therapeutic treatment for COVID-19 infection. They are working on an approach that has the ability to limit the replication of the virus and thereby change the course of the pandemic.

He is modifying a technique that he pioneered in his groundbreaking work on a genetic disease, Familial Dysautonomia (FD). His work focuses on proteins on the surface of cells that can, when altered, prevent the virus from entering the cells, thereby limiting viral reproduction. 

After the COVID-19 pandemic reached the U.S., Prof. Rubin realized that his lab's approach to modulating the RNA splicing process might provide a unique and effective way to control the replication of COVID-19. In their work on FD, his lab prepared a library of RNAs treated with 1500 FDA-approved drugs and 500 nutraceuticals. This library can be used to study the splicing of any cellular RNAs, including those that encode proteins needed by COVID-19 to infect cells.

Prof. Rubin has already performed a pilot study and successfully identified two compounds that alter the splicing of a specific RNA relevant to COVID-19 infection. These findings validate the potential of the strategy. 

Funding is needed to perform a more definitive and comprehensive study using two lung-derived cell lines, the lungs being a primary target of the COVID-19 virus. The identification of compounds capable of compromising the ability of the COVID-19 virus to enter cells has the potential to radically change the course of this pandemic. Prof. Rubin’s work offers the possibility of an effective therapeutic. Funding is needed to continue to run his lab over the next 4-5 months and to purchase needed supplies and reagents. 

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Eric Vitaliano
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