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Top researcher believes an effective coronavirus treatment could arrive this year

Published May 18th, 2020 6:34PM EDT
Coronavirus Treatment
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  • An effective coronavirus medication might be ready by the end of the year, according to researcher Dr. Nevan Krogan.
  • Krogan answered a number of coronavirus-related questions during a Reddit AMA earlier today.
  • A coronavirus vaccine, meanwhile, likely won’t be ready in 2020.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

One of the more perplexing aspects of the coronavirus pandemic has been how quickly many have been to embrace nonsensical conspiracy theories about the virus and, in turn, spread misinformation far and wide. Just last week, for example, an asinine and intellectually dishonest film about the coronavirus — titled Plandemic — went viral and amassed millions of views.

Especially in times like these, it’s worth listening to reputable scientists as opposed to championing far-fetched theories that often rest on flimsy evidence. In light of that, virus expert Dr. Nevan Krogan had an AMA on Reddit earlier today that’s worth drawing attention to.

Dr. Krogan, for those unfamiliar, works at a lab at the University of California in San Francisco and has been spearheading a team looking into effective coronavirus treatments.

Krogan’s AMA was short, but highly informative, and a few of his answers are worth sharing.

For instance, one user asked whether or not an effective coronavirus treatment might allow us to return to a pre-pandemic lifestyle. While a vaccine would clearly be an ideal solution, there’s no telling when, or if, a coronavirus vaccine might be developed and ready to roll out to the masses.

Krogan subsequently explained how a best-case scenario might involve us repurposing existing drugs into a makeshift cocktail capable of significantly hindering the coronavirus’s ability to wreak havoc on a victim’s body. In an optimistic scenario, Krogan anticipates that a reliable and effective coronavirus treatment might be ready to hit the market before 2021.

There’s a lot of diseases we don’t have vaccines for, and that’s where finding drugs or compounds, that’s the approach we’re taking… so, I think in the short term, coming up with a drug or a compound that already exists — this has been our tactic, through drug repurposing. Trying to understand the biology of the virus and then find drugs that are on the shelf and repurpose them to fight this particular pandemic.

It’s not that strong in terms of the effect that it has, however, one of the goals would be to come up with a combinatorial strategy. That’s what worked for HIV, right? A cocktail of 3 drugs… Maybe a combination of rem with one of the drugs that we’ve uncovered or somebody else has uncovered…

Normally this takes a long time to get a drug for a disease. But never has there been in the history of science so many scientists focused on one problem like this. I truly believe that by the end of 2020, there will be a cocktail of drugs that could be used and will be successful… at the end of the day there may be a drug or a cocktail of drugs for those that just got infected, and one for those who are on respirators, ones experiencing cytokine storm, compared to when you’re just starting to get symptoms. So the more we understand about the virus, the more insightful we will be about treatments…

As to how the coronavirus may have jumped from animals to humans, Krogan writes that it’s impossible to know the answer with 100% certainty. He does, however, have a few theories:

There’s a virus that’s 98 percent similar in bats, of this particular sars-co-v2. The thinking is it went directly or indirectly from bats. One theory is it went from pangolin to humans they tracked it back to this Wuhan market… that’s one theory, bats or penguins were in close prox to humans, although that has not been definitively proven. My feeling is, it could have been a bite, or it could have been close proximity. If you look at ebola, it was tracked back to a little boy playing with a bat… The exact transfer has not been elucidated.

Krogan’s full AMA can be viewed here on Reddit.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.