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Netflix 'Pandemic' scientist says his team is closing in on treatment for COVID-19

The Bay Area scientist featured in the Netflix series 'Pandemic' said after conducting trials on hamsters, the medicine could be available by fall.

SAN DIEGO — A California doctor and his team are hard at work researching a potential treatment for COVID-19.

“Right now, we are working on an antibody therapeutic against the COVID-19. We’re testing them all on hamsters, and we’re also testing some combinations of a couple, like a multi-drug cocktail,” said Dr. Jacob Glanville, the founder and CEO of Distributed Bio.

Glanville is known for being featured in the Netflix series "Pandemic" and continues to develop a viable antibodies treatment for coronavirus patients. His team is now running studies to show how can hamsters be protected from getting coronavirus if they have his five tested antibodies used from 2002 to neutralize SARS.

“An antibody has an advantage over a vaccine in that vaccines take forever to be produced. It’s going to be like in 2021, and they can't be used to treat sick people like an antibody can,” Glanville said.

The Bay Area-based scientist and his team are working on creating a shot, but said manufacturing takes time.

"It takes many months to produce large enough doses at the high quality standard that’s necessary to give to human patients,” he said.

Glanville said it costs $40 million to create the COVID-19 medicine, but said it can typically cost $1 billion to produce a drug.

“I’m trying to convince the government of the United States and other governments that we should begin stockpiling large amounts of the drug in anticipation that the study works well,” Glanville said.

Lately, Glanville said he's been in top meetings with federal agencies, including the FDA and DARPA, about how to make an antibody therapy quickly and safely.

“The big announcement is that the tests show that three different laboratories -  that are independent of us - all confirm that our antibodies are ultra-potent, and these include the U.S. Army, Stanford University, and Galveston Laboratories,” Glanville said.

Glanville said his goal is to find a cure that's effective, both physically and fiscally.

“It’s not enough that we make a medicine that works. We need a medicine that works and that everybody has access to it and that everybody can afford it," said Glanville.

Not stopping there, Glanville wants a global medicine.

"It will not work to have one nation - and everyone else not - because they will just keep re-infecting each other,” he said.

Once his lab tests are complete, we could see this drug available this fall.

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