Philadelphia Eagles owner contributes $1 million to Penn Medicine to fight COVID-19 pandemic

Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie today announced a $1 million contribution to Penn Medicine to establish the COVID-19 Immunology Defense Fund, laying the foundation for the world’s foremost experts to fight the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The funds will support both an emerging research program to test front-line health care workers for potential immunity to COVID-19, as well as provide flexibility for Penn Medicine’s researchers–who have overseen the world’s most seminal advances harnessing the power of the immune system to fight disease–to develop real-time research protocols to battle the disease.

The contribution provided by Lurie offers the opportunity for Penn’s leaders to address critically emerging needs as the pandemic evolves. Top priorities range from developing rapid diagnostic testing, to finding drugs that work against the virus, to developing potential vaccines. In the coming days, serology tests will be deployed across multiple research studies, including for health care workers and recovered COVID-19 patients, helping scientists to determine if a person has antibodies against the virus, which could help to enhance hospitals’ knowledge about which staff may be immune to the disease. These critical projects will enhance understanding of how to protect frontline health care workers, and drive knowledge to advance options for treatments and vaccines in the crucial months ahead.

We are in the midst of a humanitarian crisis that is affecting all of us in so many ways. Every passing day brings new stories of heartbreaking tragedy, inspirational courage, and hopeful innovation. We can and will get through this, but only if we work together, care for each other, and focus our attention and resources towards sustainable strategies. There are so many individuals and organizations who are making daily sacrifices, and we are incredibly thankful for their dedication and bravery. We must continue to support these efforts in every way that we can, while also seeking a solution that will help us move forward.

We have reached a critical point in our fight against COVID-19 in which testing for antibodies is absolutely essential both to protect our front-line workers in the short term and to develop treatments and vaccines that will save lives and help defeat the virus. With that in mind, I am proud to offer my support to Penn Medicine’s research efforts by establishing the COVID-19 Immunology Defense Fund. This fund will aid Penn’s multi-disciplinary approach in immunology, merging research in diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccine development. Researchers from those three areas will work hand- in- hand and rely upon one another to create an immediate and lasting impact both locally and worldwide.”

Jeffrey Lurie, Philadelphia Eagles owner

Armed with the largest single-institution immunology community in the country, Penn has notched a string of U.S. Food and Drug Administration approvals for immune-based therapies in the past three years. Penn’s best-in-class infrastructure — from well-established bench-to-bedside pipelines, to high-level biosafety facilities to test treatments with live virus– has led its immunologists to international renown for the discovery,

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Dentist creates 3D masks to fight coronavirus shortages

CUMMING, Ga. — A Georgia dentist spent the weekend brainstorming with friends that had a background in engineering and medicine to help fill the shortage of face masks for those on the front line.

Dr. Mark Causey runs a 3D capable orthodontic office that can scan patients and create full models of their teeth.

As dental offices close during the coronavirus outbreak, Causey has found a way to help the rest of the medical community. 

“There have been nurses in OR’s that have written my staff messages saying they were crying because they weren’t being given the proper equipment,” explains Causey.

He started by creating a 3D design for a mask that, when adding a filter and seal, can make potential substitutes for medical professionals. 

3D Printing Mask

Dr. Mark Causey

Causey has made over 80 in the past few days and says it’s “better than a bandanna, a scarf or a homemade mask,” but goes on to explain that it’s a backup to be used during a shortage. He’s already sent out most of those masks to medical professionals in Georgia, Tennessee and California.  

“If people have protective equipment like N95 masks and so forth that are adequate, this shouldn’t be used. But this may be a solution for shortages,” said Causey. 

What makes his mask different than the fabric or other homemade designs, is the HEPA filter and seal on the back to get a tight fit against the face. Causey uses a Shop-Vac HEPA filter, disassembled and stretched out so it can be cut to fit the mask. 

Causey says the public can drop off the 3D masks they create to his office and he can fit them with the seal. To avoid contamination, he’s asking the medical professionals that use them to purchase the HEPA material. Causey says design allows them to change the material as often as need to keep it clean. 

Causey Orthodontics office is located at 3520 Rowe Lane, Suite 200, Cumming, GA 30041.


As word has spread, other dentists have offered to serve as drop off sites and finish the masks before delivery. See the full list at the bottom of this story. 

The masks are not FDA approved or designed to replace N95 masks, but a hospital in Savannah is helping to test them out, should there be a critical need. 

Doctor Puya Davoodi with Northeast Georgia Plastic Surgery has already started wearing his at work.

“You can actually see the breathing…So what we do is we wear this mask, [with] my surgical mask on top of it,” said Davoodi. 

RELATED: Coronavirus in Georgia: Cases now stand at 1,026 with 32 deaths

Since he created his website with the design details, he says more than 2,400 people have downloaded the plans to begin production themselves, including staff in the STEM lab at Union High School. 

Causey says anyone with a 3D printer can do this with the

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