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UCLA receives $1 million for COVID-19 Rapid Response Initiative

Gift from Shurl and Kay Curci Foundation supports research on health care workers and first responders

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Date: 
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
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A $1 million gift from the Shurl and Kay Curci Foundation will support the UCLA COVID-19 Rapid Response Initiative, a partnership of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

The gift will advance research being led by Anne Rimoin, professor of epidemiology at the Fielding School, and Dr. Grace Aldrovandi, professor of pediatrics at the Geffen School of Medicine. In particular, it will support the initiative’s expansion to thousands of health care workers and first responders at UCLA Health and the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

“We need our hospital workers and first responders to feel safe as they work to get all the rest of us through this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ron Rosequist, president of the Shurl and Kay Curci Foundation. “The work that UCLA is doing will also yield basic data on rates of infection among those critical workers and will help us to understand the level and longevity of immunity in those who have recovered from it. We are very pleased to be able to support such important work.”

The gift will allow UCLA researchers to regularly test front-line health workers for active infection and screen them for antibodies and immune response. Testing will facilitate the rapid diagnosis of COVID-19 infection and enable isolation efforts aimed at protecting colleagues and family members from infection. Findings about the durability of immunity to the virus could help shape infection control and return-to-work policies regionally and throughout the U.S.

“I am deeply grateful to the Shurl and Kay Curci Foundation for their advocacy and outstanding support of this work,” Rimoin said. “We are at a critical point in this study. This gift will allow us to sustain our current momentum and propel us toward our goal of scaling up to serve thousands of health care heroes in Los Angeles.”