Colorado researchers are racing to find an antiviral drug that could save people with the new coronavirus
Almost a week after the new coronavirus shut down the University of Colorado medical campus and booted Jed Lampe from his lab, he got the call he had been waiting for Thursday afternoon.
Lampe and two of his fellow researchers received special permission from their department chair and the dean of the Skaggs School of Pharmacy to get back to work on what feels like perhaps the most important and exciting research of their lives: finding a drug that could save people with COVID-19.
The team on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus is one of several at universities and hospitals throughout the world racing to become the first to develop a treatment for the virus, which has killed four people in Colorado and thousands worldwide.
“It’s a race. It’s totally a race,” said Lampe, whose previous research has focused on HIV therapies and drug metabolism. “Competition is a good thing. We push each other along.”
And the work is important not just for now, but for other global pandemics that are certain to follow in the years and decades to come. The intensity of the research surrounding the new coronavirus means that in future years, scientists will have a library of possible antiviral compounds that they could plug in to treat new mutations of viruses — and produce them in real time.
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