Bay Area scientists say they're one step closer to engineering cure for COVID-19

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ByChris Nguyen KGO logo
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Are we close to a cure for coronavirus? Bay Area scientists say they're 1 step closer
There's new hope from a group of Bay Area scientists who have been working around the clock to find a cure for COVID-19 and say they say they just got one step closer.

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KGO) -- There's new hope from a group of Bay Area scientists who have been working around the clock to find a cure for COVID-19.

Dr. Jacob Glanville, president and CEO of Distributed Bio, and its therapeutics spin-out, Centivax, is developing an antibody therapeutic to treat the novel coronavirus. He says his team is now one step closer to finding a cure.

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"Once we have this therapy in our hands, if you have to go to the hospital or your loved one has to go to the hospital, you can give them the therapy and instead of getting more sick and being at the risk of dying, they get better rapidly and they go home," said Glanville, who is widely known for appearing in Netflix's "Pandemic" docuseries.

Three independent laboratories, including one at Stanford University, have now confirmed that multiple Centivax antibodies previously used in treating SARS, are potent neutralizers of COVID-19. Viral neutralization means that the antibodies are able to completely block the novel coronavirus from infecting human cells.

Glanville added: "We definitely need vaccines, but they take a good amount of time to develop and you can't give them to those who are already sick because vaccines often take four, five, or six weeks to take effect."

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The initial laboratory results are encouraging to many infectious disease experts who emphasize that any possible cure or vaccine will need to be safely scaled for maximum reach.

"We think this virus can be conquered and we think we have the technology to do it," said Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, a professor at Stanford University School of Medicine. "We just need to be very careful in making sure that the products that are made are safe."

Centivax will continue to do research and lab testing in the coming months with the hope of conducting a human study by August.

A possible treatment could be ready by September if approved by the federal government.

"The minute we have an antibody therapy we can end the crisis," said Glanville.

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