AIDS Research Used to Battle COVID-19 at S.F. Lab


Dr. Warner Greene. Photo courtesy of Gladstone Institutes.

Bay Area biotech companies are using their resources to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Warner Greene is a senior biologist and clinician with Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco. He and his colleagues are using techniques developed in AIDS research to understand the life cycle of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and how existing drugs that have already been tested could be used to treat patients.

“We are screening FDA approved drugs because those agents could be rapidly repurposed. We’re using an assay which is well developed. We have to mount it on a high throughput screening platform. We’re aiming to have answers of whether there’s anything in the library that could inhibit the entry infusion of this virus within two to three months.” — Dr. Warner Greene

Update: How antimalarial drugs could be used

On Sunday, the Food and Drug Administration approved the antimalarial drugs hydroxychloroquine sulfate and chloroquine phosphate for use in COVID-19 patients “when a clinical trial is not available or feasible.” The federal government is stockpiling millions of doses of the drugs donated by the manufacturers. In his interview with “Civic,” Greene also explained why researchers believe the drugs might be effective.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misspelled Dr. Warner Greene’s name.

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A segment from our radio show, “Civic.” Listen daily at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on 102.5 FM in San Francisco.