Fondazione Telethon is responding to the emergency caused by the COVID19 pandemic by offering an opportunity for research funding, namely the Telethon Rare Diseases and COVID-19 Special Grant initiative.

In line with Fondazione Telethon’s mission, this opportunity will be dedicated to research projects that consider rare genetic diseases as a tool to advance knowledge of the pathology due to SARS-CoV2 infection.

The projects should be based on novel hypotheses made on a clear connection with a rare genetic disease and focused on the investigation of specific aspects related to the molecular mechanisms of viral pathogenesis and/or vulnerability to SARS-CoV2 infection.

Examples of such type of studies include, but are not limited to:

  • Studies of the genetic determinants of SARS-CoV2 infection’s susceptibility and of COVID19 clinical variability.
  • Studies of mutated genes in rare genetic diseases coding for proteins involved in the molecular mechanisms and pathways of SARS-Cov-2 infection.
  • Studies of mechanisms associated with immune system dysfunction in diseases of genetic origin involved in the response to SARS-CoV-2 infection.
  • Studies of mechanisms involved in possible side-effects of drugs used for COVID19 treatment of patients affected by rare genetic diseases.
  • Repurposing studies of drugs used to treat rare genetic diseases interfering with COVID19 pathogenesis.

The ultimate goal is to allow researchers to contribute towards understanding the pathophysiological mechanisms of SARS-Cov2 infection and developing therapeutic options for COVID-19 treatment.

The aim is to fund one-year research projects with a max Budget of 50,000 €: preliminary data in support of the proposed project will not be required.

Collaborations bringing together multidisciplinary competencies from different fields (virology, immunology, genetics, -omics, clinical competences) are strongly encouraged.

Prior to submitting your application, please consider the following:

  • Italian investigators - working either in public or private Italian non-profit research Institutions - within and outside Telethon Institutes are eligible irrespectively of their funding status with Fondazione.
  • Scientists applying to the Telethon Rare Genetic Diseases and Covid-19 Call may apply also to the Spring Seed Grant Call and to the General Grant Call, which will be opened in the next weeks.

Each researcher can apply with only ONE proposal, as Lead Applicant or as Collaborator.

The call, the guidelines for the Applicants and the Application sample in pdf format are available below on this web page and on the TeTra portal at

Please note the following deadlines and important information:

The call will close on June 22, 2020 at 5:00 PM (CEST).

Applicants are requested to register in the Tetra portal and insert the project title by June 5, 2020.

Applicants are requested to quote the name of the disease in the project title.

For more information, please send an email to:

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