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UI Health Researchers on the Forefront of Pandemic Responses

Dr. Lijun Rong in white lab coat posed in front of shelves of books

Dr. Lijun Rong of the College of Medicine is leading a team of researchers who are developing antiviral therapy for filoviruses such as Ebola. The work is part of a larger effort with the National Institutes of Health and researchers from across the country to establish a center for antiviral drug development for pandemic-level viruses, the Midwest Antiviral Drug Discovery Center. Dr. Rong’s lab has identified potent inhibitors against filoviruses, arenaviruses, influenza viruses, henipavirus, HIV, and SARS2, and is receiving $3 million in funding to develop an antiviral for Ebola. The team aims to have the drug ready for testing in humans within three to five years.