By Peter Fimrite
Scientists at Bay Area universities, laboratories, biotechnology companies and drug manufacturers are fashioning drug concoctions out of blood plasma, chimpanzee viruses and cells taken from bone marrow in the race to rid the world of COVID-19.
The microbial treasure hunt is not just to find a cure — which may not be possible — but to control the debilitating health problems caused by the coronavirus.
Major progress has been made this year. The antiviral drug remdesivir, produced in Foster City, has improved recovery times, and the steroid dexamethasone has cut the number of deaths in severely ill patients.
What follows is a list of some of the most promising medications and vaccines with ties to the Bay Area…
VaxiPatch / Verndari (Napa and UC Davis Medical Center):
A Napa company, Verndari, is studying vaccines for COVID-19 that can be delivered using an adhesive patch. Researchers at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento said the patch caused an immune response in preclinical tests.
An October report in the online journal ScienceDirect touted the system, saying it “could serve as a ‘shelter in place’ vaccination strategy, in which vulnerable populations receive delivery at home without needing to engage an already-overtaxed health care infrastructure.”
If the vaccine is proven effective and safe, patients could receive it through the mail, according to Dr. Daniel Henderson, Verndari’s chief executive officer.