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Pitt sports leaders donate to coronavirus vaccine research

Pittsburgh college and professional sports teams have donated $800,000 to the University of Pittsburgh’s nationally renowned Center for Vaccine Research, which is working to create a vaccine for coronavirus.

Pitt football coach Pat Narduzzi, men’s basketball coach Jeff Capel, women’s basketball coach Lance White, athletic director Heather Lyke made a combined $500,000 donation, while the Penguins, Pirates and Steelers each donated $100,000.

In February, the Center for Vaccine research announced it would begin work on developing a vaccine. The center is one of the few labs nationwide qualified to handle pathogens like the one that has caused this current pandemic.

“Nothing great in life is ever achieved alone,” Lyke said in a statement. “Pitt Athletics is honored to join forces with the Penguins, Pirates and Steelers in support of the Center for Vaccine Research and its extraordinary researchers. April marked the 65th anniversary of Dr. Jonas Salk’s victory over polio and it is apparent that funding for vaccine research remains as crucial as ever. David and I are proud to support CVR’s mission of making the world a healthier, safer place.”

Salk and his team developed a vaccine for polio in 1955 while he was at the University of Pittsburgh.

The Center for Vaccine Research expressed its appreciation to the donation.

“We are stunned by the generosity and support the Pittsburgh community has shown for our center over the past few months, most recently from Pitt Athletics and our local sports teams — the Steelers, Pirates and Penguins,” director Paul Duprex, Ph.D, said. “That’s the legacy of Jonas Salk on this town. Pittsburgh understands the importance of vaccines, and we’re so grateful to be located here, where we can do our work to combat COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, knowing the community is behind us.”

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