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Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie donates $1M to fight coronavirus

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Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie is donating $1 million to kick off a coronavirus research fund at a top medical school in the city.

The money will establish a new COVID-19 Immunology Defense Fund at Penn Medicine, the school announced in a press release Friday.

Top priorities to research are a coronavirus test that can deliver rapid results, drugs to treat the virus and a potential vaccine, the school said.

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“We are in the midst of a humanitarian crisis that is affecting all of us in so many ways,” Lurie said in the announcement. “When we band together, our defense gets stronger.”

He also issued a call for others to donate and expand the fund.

“I am personally grateful to an exceptional civic leader and a great friend, Jeffrey Lurie, for giving us the tools to fight back against this pandemic in a way that may not only benefit our city and country but also the world,” University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann said.

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Penn Medicine describes itself as one of the world’s leading academic medical centers and traces its roots back to 1765 as the first American medical school, “armed with the largest single-institution immunology community in the country," it says.

Lurie is not the first NFL team owner to join the fight against the coronavirus outbreak this week. On Thursday, the New England Patriots’ private jet touched down in Boston after Robert Kraft sent it on a mission to bring back more than one million coveted N95 masks from China to give to health care workers battling on the front lines in the U.S.

Palettes of N95 respirator masks are off-loaded from the New England Patriots football team's customized Boeing 767 jet on the tarmac, Thursday, April 2, 2020, at Logan Airport, in Boston, after returning from China. The Kraft family deployed the Patriots team plane to China to fetch more than one million masks for use by front-line health care workers to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Palettes of N95 respirator masks are off-loaded from the New England Patriots football team's customized Boeing 767 jet on the tarmac, Thursday, April 2, 2020, at Logan Airport, in Boston, after returning from China. The Kraft family deployed the Patriots team plane to China to fetch more than one million masks for use by front-line health care workers to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

They join a number of other league figures donating to help stop the pandemic.

Arthur Blank, who owns the Atlanta Falcons, previously donated more than $5 million for COVID-19 assistance in both Georgia and Montana. Jimmy and Dee Haslam, the owners of the Cleveland Browns, donated $1.5 million to coronavirus relief efforts in Ohio.

Many athletes in the NFL and other major sports leagues have made large donations, as well.

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Confirmed coronavirus cases had reached at least 245,573 in the United States as of Friday morning, with at least 6,058 deaths.

Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.