The University System of Maryland is assembling a COVID-19 task force to mobilize medical research and guide state policy in response to the pandemic, according to a statement released Monday.
The task force, which emphasizes “research and innovation,” will coordinate projects across the system aimed at preventing the spread of the disease, bringing together experts from nursing, public health, public policy, computing and engineering, according to the release.
“Innovation is what we do. But we can do it bigger, better and stronger if we do it together,” the system’s Chancellor Jay Perman said. “That’s what Maryland’s people deserve, and that’s where our focus is.”
Experts in different fields across the system will share their expertise with policymakers and state industries to guide strategies for dealing with medical and economic concerns related to the virus’s spread.
The task force will be headed by Laurie Locascio, the University of Maryland’s vice president for research and bioengineering professor at the College Park campus. Future university President Darryll Pines, who is set to take office in July, will also be part of the group.
The system is already engaged in certain projects – including virology and vaccine research – to assist state efforts, according to the statement. Future projects coordinated by the task force will focus on preventing the virus’s transmission, aiding treatment, and may include air purification systems as well as vaccine testing.
In addition to mobilizing resources, the task force is looking to “prepare the USM long-term to address future pandemics and other crises,” according to the statement.
The University of Maryland Strategic Partnership — a collaboration between this university and the University of Maryland, Baltimore — will spearhead research projects, according to the statement.
“There is no time more important for collaborative research,” Locascio said. “Together, researchers across the University System of Maryland will work to serve our state, our region, and our world.”