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eBriefing

Advances in Therapeutic Development for COVID-19

Advances in Therapeutic Development for COVID-19
Reported by
Alison Carley

Posted June 17, 2020

Presented By

The New York Academy of Sciences

From the start of the global pandemic, scientists have rapidly mobilized drug development efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. The varied approaches under consideration include using plasma donated from recovered patients or other methods to modulate the host immune response, repurposing compounds originally developed for other conditions, and identifying new antivirals specifically targeting the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The best strategy will likely require a combination of treatments and may vary depending on the stage and severity of the disease. Once a treatment or combination of treatments is proven safe and effective, it must be manufactured and distributed at scale, and kept affordable. Leading experts explore these challenges and provide the latest developments in therapeutics for COVID-19.

In this eBriefing, You’ll Learn:

  • The unique challenges to developing antiviral drugs, and how existing drugs—like Remdesivir—might be effectively repurposed to treat COVID-19
  • How convalescent plasma and other antibody products may be used
  • Efforts to ensure that treatments are widely available and affordable
  • The vision for new therapeutic development and strategies to combine different treatments

Moderator

Meg Tirrell
Meg Tirrell

CNBC

Speakers

Sara Cherry, PhD
Sara Cherry, PhD

University of Pennsylvania

Arturo Casadevall, MD, PhD
Arturo Casadevall, MD, PhD

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Trevor Mundel, PhD
Trevor Mundel, PhD

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

COVID-19: Race to Therapeutic Development

Speakers

COVID-19: Race to Therapeutic Development


Sara Cherry/Arturo Casadevall/Trevor Mundel (University of Pennsylvania/Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health/Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation)

Sara Cherry, PhD
University of Pennsylvania

Sara Cherry, PhD, is a Professor of Microbiology in the Department of Microbiology at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. She also is Scientific Director for the High-throughput Screening Core and Director of the Program for Chemogenomic Discovery in the Penn Center for Precision Medicine. Dr. Cherry received her BS from University of California, Berkeley and PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship in genetics at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Cherry has published over 75 peer-reviewed articles in journals such as Cell, Nature, Immunity, and Molecular Cell. Dr. Cherry has an extensive record of national service, serving on committees for multiple organizations, several editorial boards, and scientific review committees including for the National Institutes of Health.

She studies viral pathogenesis, which includes both the ways viruses replicate and the anti-virus mechanisms within host cells. During the COVID-19 pandemic Dr. Cherry has looked to identify novel therapeutic strategies, making use of her extensive small molecule library to identify chemical compounds that are active against SARS-CoV-2.

 

Arturo Casadevall, MD, PhD
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Arturo Casadevall, PhD, is a professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He holds a joint appointment in molecular microbiology and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. His research focuses on how microbes cause disease and how the immune system defends itself. Dr. Casadevall serves as chair of the W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He received his M.S., Ph.D. and M.D. from New York University. Prior to joining Johns Hopkins, he served as director of the Center for Immunological Sciences at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. His team is currently engaged in understanding how hosts defend against the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. Dr. Casadevall’s work has been recognized with numerous awards, including the American Society for Microbiology Founders Distinguished Service Award, the National Institutes of Health Merit Award and the Rhoda Benham Award from Medical Mycology Society of America.

Dr. Casadevall is investigating the use of convalescent plasma in the current COVID-19 pandemic. He is chair of COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project Leadership Group.

Trevor Mundel, PhD
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Trevor Mundel, PhD, leads the foundation’s efforts to develop high-impact interventions against the leading causes of death and disability in developing countries. He manages the foundation’s disease-specific R&D investments in HIV, Tuberculosis, Malaria, Pneumonia, Enteric and Diarrheal Diseases, and Neglected Tropical Diseases. He also manages cross-cutting product development programs, including Discovery & Translational Sciences, Innovative Technology Solutions, Integrated Development, and Vaccine Development & Surveillance. This work relies on close collaboration with an international network of grantees and partners. Prior to joining the foundation in 2011, Trevor was global head of development with Novartis and previously was involved in clinical research at Pfizer and Parke-Davis. Born and raised in South Africa, Trevor earned his bachelor’s and medical degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He also studied mathematics, logic, and philosophy as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, and he earned a Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Chicago.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed more than $350 million to support the global response to COVID-19 and is leveraging both resources and expertise to help bring this pandemic to an end. The COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator is intended to play a catalytic role by accelerating and evaluating new and repurposed drugs and biologics to respond to COVID-19 in the immediate term, and other viral pathogens in the longer-term.