Afshin Beheshti, PhD

President of COV-IRT

Our Mission: Working Together Toward Effective Therapeutic Development for COVID-19

The COVID-19 International Research Team (COV-IRT) is a community of scientists driving research into COVID-19. This interdisciplinary group from over 75 institutions worldwide is coordinating projects focused specifically on SARS-CoV-2, including determining heterogeneity of the viral genome sequence, analyzing host response to COVID-19 disease, characterizing potential co-infections, and identifying potential therapeutic targets for preclinical and clinical development.

COV-IRT connects molecular biologists, viral epidemiologists, computational biologists, statisticians, coronavirologists, microbiologists, aerobiologists, and clinicians who are identifying new potential therapeutic targets for COVID-19 patients with laboratory research scientists who can validate the suitability of those therapeutic candidates and further drug development.

The purpose of the COVID-19 International Research Team is to rapidly improve our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 and develop therapeutics against SARS-CoV-2. We have formed a multidisciplinary team of researchers and will use a large consortium open science model to combine data, expertise, and labor to accelerate the process of finding therapeutics. Our second goal is to provide the public free tools and resources to help bring the most accurate information for COVID-19 and help mitigate the spread the of COVID-19. Lastly, we will apply our current methodologies and tools for future pandemics.


  • Enhance public datasets to reveal host infection dynamics for SARS-CoV-2 to improve medical treatment options for COVID-19 patients.
  • Determine and design optimal targets for therapeutics against SARS-CoV-2.
  • Create new drug delivery systems based on targets.
  • Test newly developed therapeutics in both in vitro and in vivo SARS-CoV-2 models.
  • Apply for human clinical trials.
  • Create new tools and resources for COVID-19
  • Establish a multi-institutional collaborative team for rapid response for current and future pandemics

Computational Expertise

Clinical Experience

Laboratory Proficiency

Human & Virus Genetics