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Distributed Bio co-founder and CEO Dr. Jacob Glanville revealed on "The Story with Martha MacCallum" Thursday that his company's laboratory is three to four weeks away from engineering a therapeutic antibody to combat the coronavirus.
"What my company is doing is adapting antibodies to recognize and neutralize the novel coronavirus. So this would ... [be] sort of skipping what a vaccine does," Glanville said. "Instead of giving you a vaccine and waiting for it to produce an immune response, we just give you those antibodies right away. And so within about 20 minutes, that patient has the ability to neutralize the virus."
Glanville told MacCallum that once his colleagues are done engineering the antibodies they will send it to the U.S. military before eventually conducting a human study this summer.
"The completed drug is going to go to the USAMRIID [United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases]. So that's the U.S. military and they're gonna be testing it for its ability to neutralize the virus.
"At the same time, that drug was going to go to Charles River Laboratories, which is a international contract research group, which is going to test the safety of that drug," Glanville said. "Both of those pieces of information come together so that we can produce batches, go through some red tape, and then do the first human studies that we'll do on 200 to 600 people in the summer, probably in July."
Glanville said that he believes "social distancing" is working to reduce the spread of the virus, but that medicine is needed to further combat the spread.
"It is definitely helping. We are way safer now than we were a week ago. The social distancing measures slow down the growth of new cases. But the problem is, eventually people have to go back to work. And the coronavirus appears so infectious that we we don't think we're actually gonna be able to just squish out the pandemic just through social distancing," Glanville said. "So eventually we're gonna need medicine because otherwise all the models I'm looking at are guessing that this thing's going to last all year and it could indeed become seasonal with everybody eventually becoming infected."
Glanville added that the U.S. is on a "different trajectory than Italy," where the number of recorded deaths from the virus surpassed China earlier Thursday, but he also warned that hospitals will be stressed by the coronavirus.
"Our medical care is excellent. That said, this thing is really infectious and it's growing. So we are going to see stress on our hospitals and our ICUs throughout the nation," Glanville said. "And that's part of the reason why the White House made such a strong decision to go institute these these isolation measures."