It's estimated there are 30 trillion cells in a human body. The focus is to pinpoint human proteins that succumb to COVID-19. By mapping that, researchers will try to identify existing drugs that have the potential to interrupt that process.
"We as of last week sent out a number of drugs, I think 10 drugs so far, and they're testing them in the lab as we speak," UCSF Molecular Biologist Nevan Krogan said.
Nevan Krogan is director of the Qualitative Biosciences Institute. While his lab doesn't have samples of the coronavirus, his results are being shared with labs in New York and Paris that do.
RELATED: Coronavirus research: Menlo Park lab using robots, AI to find COVID-19 medication
Some of the existing drugs being tested are FDA approved to treat Ebola and malaria, but could be effective on COVID-19. It's known as off-label use.
With infections rising globally, the need to identify effective treatment has disrupted the way scientists work, traditionally operating separately in silos.
Kevan Shokat is the chair of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at UCSF.
"This crisis in my opinion has brought out the best of many different scientists that have ignored the credit. They've all come together in a way I've never seen before," Shokat said.
RELATED: Coronavirus vaccine test opens as American volunteer gets first shot
Collaboration will prevent duplicating efforts while accelerating the discovery of effective treatments. The technology at UCSF was developed several years ago and has been used on HIV, Ebola and West Nile virus.
The race by this team to help COVID-19 patients is narrowly focused.
"Everybody else is looking at a list of 20,000 proteins. We can look at a list of 200 so to pick the 200 out of 20,000 and to focus on those for these last two weeks and for the coming months," Shokat said.
RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
- Live updates about coronavirus outbreak in US, around the world
- Everything you need to know about the Bay Area's shelter-in-place order
- Bay Area cancelations, closures related to COVID-19
- Symptoms, prevention, and how to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak in the US
- List of stores, companies closing due to coronavirus pandemic
- Canceled late fees, free services available amid COVID-19 crisis
- Here's how you can help during COVID-19 pandemic
- Coronavirus in CA: Get resources and information about COVID-19
- Bay Area school closures related to coronavirus pandemic
- How to maintain learning during school closures
- How coronavirus compares with the flu
- No masks but here are 100+ products that may help protect you against novel coronavirus germs
- Busting COVID-19 coronavirus myths: Facts from the Centers for Disease Control
- Here's a look at some of history's worst pandemics that have killed millions
- Asian community fighting racism, xenophobia, bigotry as world fights COVID-19