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Scientists Getting Closer to Finding ‘Cocktail' of Market Drugs to Treat COVID-19

“Between now and us getting a vaccine, this is our best hope," a doctor said

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Earlier this month, a San Diego scientist studying the potential of thousands of existing drugs to treat COVID-19 said the research looked promising. Now, just a few weeks later, Dr. Sumit Chanda and his team have a short list of 30.

Dr. Chanda and his colleagues at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla have been in the race to find a treatment for the disease since January.

When NBC 7 caught up with Chandra’s team in early April, they were testing live samples of the virus against hundreds of drugs narrowed down from a list of 13,000 already approved by the FDA.

A doctor told NBC 7's Jackie Crea the research looks promising.

Chanda told NBC 7 the goal was to find one or two of the drugs that worked to fight the virus and combine them as a “cocktail” of sorts. They’ve since identified 30 drugs that could work.

Chanda’s data is public and has been sent to drug companies and the medical industry. The next steps include animal testing before the FDA approves clinical trials in humans.

Chandra has a warning, though.

“These are not things that you should go out and get your doctors to prescribe. There is a process here. Of evaluation. People will know when there is something safe and efficacious to take for this,” he said.

The team hopes several drugs will prove effective by the summer in case another round of the virus comes back.

“Between now and us getting a vaccine, this is our best hope. Taking things that are off the shelf and looking at whether they can be useful to treat coronavirus,” Dr. Chanda said.

If all goes well, Chanda says animal testing could take a month and a half. Clinical trials could be completed three months after that.

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