Purdue hopes crowdfunding fuels Zika virus research

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Less than two weeks ago Purdue University researchers announced they deciphered the structure of the Zika virus.

As researchers work to target specific treatments that could result in a vaccine, Purdue’s head of Biological Science Dr. Richard Kuhn said that continued research comes at a cost.

“The cost of the microscope alone is about $200,000 to keep in service for one year,” he said.

To keep up their efforts, Purdue has started a crowdfunding campaign.

The goal is to raise $50,000 by April 28.

Although Purdue announced a $250 million investment in its Life Sciences Department in January, Kuhn said the money has already been allocated and getting more funding can be a long process.

“If you’re going to start a new project, you have to write a proposal,” said Kuhn. “It’s got to be reviewed, and so that period is usually six to 12 months before you get money.”

Purdue director of Philanthropic Communications Lisa Tally said any money raised will help researchers continue their work without having to wait on grants.

“It’s money in hand right now,” said Tally. “Every dollar goes to the Zika research, and it will provide the researchers more flexibility and nimbleness to be able to just make further discoveries and build on what they’ve already done.”

Tally said each donation could help Purdue researchers come closer to finding a way to stop the spread of the Zika virus.

“You can take pride that your alma mater, or that an institution that is dear to you, like Purdue is, to so many people is really making an impact in the world,” said Tally.

An impact Kuhn said would be thanks in part to the people who took time to donate.

“The crowdfunding is the perfect opportunity for them to participate, to help groundbreaking research right here,” said Kuhn.

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