TAMPA — A new facility to treat and research COVID-19 and other infectious diseases is being established at Tampa General Hospital. The opening of the new Taneja Family Global Emerging Diseases Institute was announced by the hospital on Saturday.
Tampa General Hospital will work in collaboration with the Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida to create a team of physicians who will provide clinical care and conduct education and research initiatives, officials announced. The institute will bring researchers and physicians together to work on initiatives such as vaccine clinical trials.
“Thanks to the generous donation of the Taneja family, our clinical teams can continue to provide the best possible care for COVID-19 and other deadly infectious diseases and discover new treatments to face these threats in a fully equipped, dedicated facility on our campus,” said Tampa General President and CEO Couris in a statement.
The institute was created thanks to an undisclosed donation from the Taneja Family Foundation. In 2019 the foundation gave USF a $10 million donation and now the USF Health Taneja College of Pharmacy bears the family’s name. The Taneja family lives in Largo and own and operates a pharmaceutical business there.
“We want to do our part to support Tampa General, whose clinical scientists will be conducting global research to provide answers and hope,” said a statement from Jugal Taneja on behalf of his wife Manju and their family. “We encourage others to give back and show support. These are heroes on the front lines.”
Since March, the hospital said it has treated more than 1,400 patients for COVID-19 and conducted more than 120,000 coronavirus tests. it is now conducting more than 30 clinical research trials.
Tampa General Hospital said it was the first in the state to offer monoclonal antibody treatments, which can reduce the likelihood a high-risk patient is hospitalized due to the coronavirus if administered early. The hospital is one of five in Florida to receive the first round of COVID-19 vaccines through the state’s pilot program.
The institute will be led by Dr. John Sinnott, the hospital’s chief epidemiologist and chair of internal medicine at the Morsani College of Medicine; and Dr. Kami Kim, director of Infectious Disease and International Medicine at USF.
Dr. Seetha Lakshmi will serve as medical director of the infectious diseases service line. Lakshmi is also an associate hospital epidemiologist at Tampa General and an assistant professor at USF. Dr. Asa Oxner, vice chair of the department of Internal Medicine at USF, will oversee future infectious disease and COVID-19 outpatient clinics and therapy programs.