Decades before the COVID-19 pandemic, basic science researchers were laying the groundwork for lifesaving breakthroughs now central to the world’s pandemic response. With support from the Kavli Foundation and the Simons Foundation, the Science Philanthropy Alliance enlisted a team of writers to explore these science origin stories in a new series: The COVID-19 Basic Science Prequels. Each month, the series will unpack the people, history, and serendipitous discovery behind topics that now dominate our daily lives—from masks and vaccines to PCR and omics.
We’re kicking off the series with a Q&A with Dr. Tony Fauci about the importance of basic science for pandemic preparedness and the unique role philanthropy can play to support it. We’re also launching with stories that look at the basic science behind masks, unpack what we know—and don’t know—about the viral world, and explore the evolutionary arms race between viruses and humans.
As an alliance of basic science funders, we’re proud of philanthropy’s contribution to this fundamental work. We hope this series will not only pay homage to past basic scientific research, but also inspire investments to ensure that this foundation for innovation remains strong for decades to come.