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Pro Bass Angler Leads Research for Covid-19 Vaccine

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Montana B.A.S.S. Nation angler Jay Evans hasn’t spent much time on the water this year.

The 2009 Bassmaster Classic qualifier is also director of the Center for Translational Medicine at the University of Montana and CEO of Inimmune Corp., a biotech company focused on vaccines development and novel treatments of immune-related illnesses.

“We have probably one of the larger vaccine discovery and development groups in the country here in Missoula, which I lead up,” said Evans in a statement. “We have a large and very active research team working on vaccines and treatments for Covid-19, tuberculosis, pseudomonas, influenza, pertussis, E. coli, opioid addiction, allergy and cancer.”

Evans, who is a virologist, and his team began work on a vaccine back in February, and has also been advising the Montana B.A.S.S. Nation on how to practice social distancing during tournaments held amid a pandemic.

“I have been involved in discussions here locally in Montana about what to do about tournaments and if we can safely do tournaments in Montana,” Evans said.

"Fortunately, Montana is the state with the fewest cases in the nation, which helps a lot.

"The state is going through a careful but pretty quick reopening,” said Evans. “So, as the restaurants and things started to open, we also started holding tournaments. But we do it in a different way than we did it before. We have kept people from amassing in groups by limiting the number of weigh bags we give out, so we don’t have so many people waiting at the scales.”

To mitigate that, they moved the weigh-in location at the last tournament from near a restaurant and bar — where crowds of people typically watch — down to the ramp where traffic is a little quieter and faster, with less people congregating, said Evans.

The intense work schedule has made it tough for Evans to find time for fishing.

“I also have three kids, and my two boys love to fish,” said Evans, whose son Tyler has fished in the Junior Bassmasters National Championship twice. “Juggling work and fishing and family time is a challenge, and right now fishing is suffering the most. I am not fishing the number of tournaments I typically would and not getting out as much as I normally would this time of year, but priority has to be family and a Covid-19 vaccine.”

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