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July 08, 2020

Harrington Discovery Institute and Morgan Stanley GIFT Cures Announce Campaign to Fund Cures for COVID-19

Cleveland’s own Hollywood celebrities join cause to advance therapies and vaccines

July 8, 2020, CLEVELAND and NEW YORK CITY – Coronavirus cases continue to increase in the United States and throughout the world. Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals, in collaboration with Morgan Stanley GIFT (Global Impact Funding Trust) Cures, is raising funds for research to bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. The money will support the Harrington Discovery Institute COVID-19 Rapid Response Initiative to provide critical funding to selected scientists developing novel antiviral therapies, next-generation vaccines and vaccine alternatives that fight COVID-19, and most importantly, avert future pandemics.

In response to an urgent call for proposals earlier this year, Harrington Discovery Institute received hundreds of applications from physicians and scientists at 122 universities and health systems across the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom to yield one of the world’s largest portfolios of COVID-19-related drugs.

“The response to our call for proposals far exceeded our expectations,” said Jonathan S. Stamler, MD, President, Harrington Discovery Institute, Robert S. and Sylvia K. Reitman Family Foundation Distinguished Professor of Cardiovascular Innovation and Professor of Medicine at UH and Case Western Reserve University. “The quality of science and potential for clinical impact is truly remarkable.”

The selected projects span four major areas of need in the fight against COVID-19, with the overarching goal of actively advancing treatments into clinical trials by the end of the year:

  • Novel therapies to prevent causes of Coronavirus mortality
  • Broad-spectrum antiviral therapies
  • Next generation vaccines and vaccine alternatives to avert pandemics
  • Emergency countermeasures/prophylaxis strategies for first responders and emergency medical personnel to be administered either once or short term

“We were only able to fund 12 award winners, but frankly there are probably 50 projects here that show promise to protect the nation and the world,” said Dr. Stamler.

Funding a single Harrington Discovery Institute-developed vaccine or antiviral drug requires upwards of $1 million in grant funding. “If we are to develop breakthrough treatments for patients, we need to raise as much support as possible from our local Cleveland community and across the nation,” added Dr. Stamler. “This is an opportunity to restore human health and the world’s economic well-being.”

As the virus knows no borders, HDI is also activating its international network to help support novel therapies for viral mutations that threaten to prolong the global pandemic.

Melanie Schnoll Begun, President of Morgan Stanley GIFT Cures, said, “Through Harrington Discovery Institute's unique collaboration with Morgan Stanley GIFT Cures, philanthropists have a trusted opportunity to expand and accelerate critical treatments for COVID-19 while strengthening the path to protect us from the next pandemic and other diseases of the greatest unmet needs.”

Alongside the swift pivot to support the COVID-19 Rapid Response Initiative, Morgan Stanley GIFT Cures remains committed to curating new opportunities to advance high-potential drug development across multiple disease areas. “As we think about the pandemic’s ripple effects into the healthcare system, our collaboration with HDI is more important than ever,” said Schnoll Begun.

“Delayed screenings and care may turn one public health crisis into many others. Morgan Stanley GIFT Cures’ parallel opportunity to accelerate cures for life-threatening non-COVID-19 diseases, such as cancer, neurodegeneration, rare diseases, and diabetes, is a powerful complement for forward-thinking, strategic philanthropists,” she continued.

Lending a hand to these efforts are Cleveland-raised celebrities who have come together to raise awareness for the cause. Kathryn Hahn, Patricia Heaton, Monica Potter, Molly Shannon, David Wain, and Mike Polk, Jr., showed their support by creating a video to showcase the efforts taking place in their hometown.

To donate, please visit

To learn more about Morgan Stanley GIFT Cures and its role in the COVID-19 Rapid Response Initiative, reach out to

For more information about Harrington Discovery Institute’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Initiative, please visit

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