N.C. A&T Receives $1M to Fight COVID-19

By Jackie Torok / 06/11/2020 Research and Economic Development

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (June 11, 2020) – The UNC Board of Governors announced it will partner with the N.C. Policy Collaboratory at UNC-Chapel Hill to award $1 million in COVID-19 funding to each of the UNC System’s six historically minority-serving institutions, including North Carolina Technical and Agricultural State University.

N.C. A&T will use its portion of the $6 million in total funding, to be awarded July 1, for multi-research projects, addressing COVID-19 studies that include food and animal testing across the state; an affordable fever detection system for K-12; efforts to mitigate mortality rates among older adults in nursing homes and residential care facilities;  the design of an anti-viral nanoparticle that can kill the  coronavirus; and an economic impact study of the virus in the Piedmont Triad Region.

“The effects of COVID-19 on the health of racial and ethnic minorities has exposed and made even clearer the disproportionate burden of illness and death among racial and ethnic minority groups,” said Lenora R. Campbell, Ph.D., dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences. “The multiple research projects to be conducted at A&T will address various facets of the new coronavirus and provide strategies for mitigating its spread, consequences and impact.”

The board’s Committee on Historically Minority-Serving Institutions (HMSIs) was established in 2018 to support six UNC System institutions, including Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, N.C. Central University, UNC Pembroke and Winston-Salem State University.

Each institution will participate in a variety of COVID-19 activities, including research of antibodies, community testing, and other related activities that support minority and rural populations. 

Jeff Warren, Ph.D., executive director of N.C. Policy Collaboratory, said that given the greater number of African Americans and minorities affected by the virus, he believes this partnership will impact parts of North Carolina in a positive way.

“One of the first calls I received after the $29 million research package was approved by the General Assembly and the governor was from Darrell Allison,” said Warren. “From our first conversation, it was clear we were both well aware that these campuses, and the communities they serve, represented areas of the state hardest hit from this pandemic. This investment builds on forward-thinking research already occurring on all six of these campuses.”

The Collaboratory recently received $29 million to study treatment, community testing and prevention, as well as the public health and economic impact, of COVID-19 under a $1.5 billion coronavirus relief package approved last month by state legislators. The Collaboratory’s COVID-19 research projects will provide new data and information to state lawmakers and policymakers to help guide the state’s response.

The Collaboratory was created by the General Assembly in 2016 to facilitate the dissemination of the research and policy expertise of the UNC System for practical use by state and local government. The COVID-19 research initiatives conducted at all campuses across the UNC System in conjunction with the N.C. Policy Collaboratory must be completed by Dec. 30, per federal COVID-19 funding requirements established by the CARES Act.

Media Contact Information: jtorok@ncat.edu