LA JOLLA, Calif. – Working with renown research labs across the world, San Diego based Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute is leading the charge to find new therapies to treat COVID-19 patients.
“Our greatest hope is to come up with a therapy before and until we get a vaccine,” said Dr. Sumit Chanda, Director of Director, Sanford Burnham Prebys.
By testing 12,000 drugs identified by one of its partners, Scripps Research, and already FDA approved for other treatments, they narrowed it down to 30 therapies that show great promise in the lab. From the 30, they believe six can be used in patients to stop the coronavirus from replicating.
“Our best estimation is within six months we should be able to have results from the initial round of clinical trials,” said Dr. Chanda. “So we’re hoping that a second wave of this doesn’t come in October. If it does, these are the kinds of therapies that if they are successful in testing could be made available to help combat mortality in that second wave.”
They have their work cut out for them due to the tricky nature of the novel coronavirus and its ability to replicate, mutate and change. So like HIV before it, the best hope is to find multiple therapies that all work together.
“We make what’s called a cocktail of drugs,” said Dr. Chanda. “Usually you combine three different drugs and what happens there is it boxes the virus into a genetic corner or can no longer mutate out and then you have what’s considered to be a sustainable cure.”
Admittedly a cure is still a ways off, but there is hope – that and an unprecedented scientific collaboration the likes the world has never seen.
“Some of the best people in the world have stopped what they were doing and banded together to join this fight and part of this fight is coming up with new therapies to bridge the time that we are at now and the time where we have a vaccine.”