American Lung Association pledges $25 million to help combat coronavirus, emerging respiratory viruses

American Lung Association launches $25M initiative in the fight against coronavirus and to help prevent future respiratory viruses.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The American Lung Association has always played a crucial role in helping to raise awareness about the need for research for respiratory diseases and lung health. And now they are launching a huge initiative to fund $25 million for research to end the novel coronavirus.

American Lung Association President and CEO Harold Wimmer, joined Eyewitness News via Skype to discuss this extraordinary research effort.

What is the focus of the American Lung Association?

"Thank you for having me, and the American Lung Association is uniquely positioned to really help make a difference, so we're putting a stake in the ground because COVID-19 is a respiratory disease and it's one that anyone who breathes could get COVID-19. So, the American Lung Association has launched our new COVID-19 action initiative in our efforts to be a global partner to work to end COVID-19, and also to defend against future respiratory virus pandemics," Wimmer said.

What makes the Lung Association the right type of organization to help in this pandemic?

"Well the American Lung Association is uniquely positioned, and we have the ability to leverage our research program and we will be adding additional funds to fund research that has a focus on identifying new treatments for COVID-19. The American Lung Association operates our Airways Clinical Research Center network, which has more than 42 centers across the United States. So, we're able to fund clinical research that will be looking at ways that we can better treat COVID-19. And then, also we will be studying the short and long-term effects of COVID-19 on individuals who tested positive for COVID-19. So, this will really be important information as we move forward to really better understand COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses," Wimmer said.

We know the American Lung Association has earmarked $25 million for the research that you just mapped out, is this where the money is going or is that in addition to other things?

"We will be using the $25 million that we've allocated to this new initiative to support these additional research funding efforts, plus in addition to that we will be funding our educational and advocacy work to help make sure then we have proper public health measures in place. So, it's really a combination of our research, our education and advocacy efforts -- all to address COVID-19," Wimmer said.
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