The Eagles have always been ahead of the curve when it comes to giving back to the community. The same is true for Penn Medicine.
So, it was only fitting that the two organizations joined forces to create the COVID-19 Immunology Defense Fund, a collaborative endeavor that will allocate much-needed funds to test front-line health care workers and develop real-time research protocols to battle COVID-19.
Eagles owner Jeffery Lurie personally pledged a $1 million contribution in the battle to fight the contagious disease. Penn Medicine intends to use the money to work on diagnostic testing and to develop potential vaccines. There is still no cure for the novel coronavirus, but these types of contributions can go a long way in solving the national pandemic.
“We are in the midst of a humanitarian crisis that is affecting all of us in so many ways,” Lurie said. “Every passing day brings new stories of heartbreaking tragedy, inspirational courage, and hopeful innovation. We can and will get through this, but only if we work together, care for each other, and focus our attention and resources towards sustainable strategies.”
Penn has the largest single-institution immunology community in the country, according to a press release.
“This gift will help support the more than 200 experts at Penn who have harnessed the immune system to develop groundbreaking approaches to treat cancer, autoimmune diseases, HIV/AIDS, and other infectious diseases to focus their collective expertise to fight COVID-19,” said J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD, executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and dean of the Perelman School of Medicine.
Joel Embiid, Sixers Partner with Penn Medicine to Combat COVID-19
The Eagles aren’t the only professional sports team in Philly stepping up in these uncertain times. The Sixers and All-Star center Joel Embiid — along with the team’s managing partner, Josh Harris, and co-managing partner, David Blitzer — have donated a combined contribution of $1.3 million to Penn Medicine.
The partnership could be vital in combatting the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philadelphia region and across the globe. Their efforts will support new experimental blood-based tests that detect antibodies to determine if a person has ever been infected with the virus.
“During this pandemic, many doctors and nurses are working like soldiers on the front lines of a war and they need to be provided with as much armor as possible in this battle,” Embiid said. “COVID-19 antibody testing can help Philadelphia health care workers at this critical time, and we need to do everything possible to help those heroes who are putting their lives at risk to help us.”
Penn Medicine’s Scott Hensley — associate professor of Microbiology in the Perelman School of Medicine — will head up research focused on COVID-19 antibody testing of front line health care workers.
“Learning more about how to determine who is immune to COVID-19 is important for our efforts to better equip hospitals with the knowledge needed to safely deploy their staff to care for patients as the epidemic continues,” Hensley said.
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