Drug manufactured by Bay Area company being tested to treat coronavirus patients

coronavirus

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — The number of confirmed coronavirus cases among cruise ship passengers quarantined at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield is rising.

This as a new drug, manufactured by a Bay Area company, is being tested to treat the disease. 

The CDC says the number of Diamond Princess cruise ship passengers to test positive for the coronavirus has increased to 42.

21 of those had been quarantined at Travis Air Force Base. Four are being treated in Spokane, Washington and 17 others are being treated at local hospitals in the Bay Area.

So far, Santa Clara County and San Francisco have declared states of emergency and they will soon be joined by Contra Costa County.

“We plan to declare a state of emergency at our March 10 meeting, which will position us to receive federal and state funding if and when it becomes available,” John Gioia said. “To be better prepared, to address the wider spread of this once CDC, if they declare a pandemic in this case.”

Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia said the county is already taking steps to prepare, he says the state of emergency will help fund that expansion of services if needed.

“If there’s all of a sudden thousands of new patients needing health care, you’ll need more staffing and more supplies and equipment, and more facilities, available space and facilities. So all of that is going to cost money and we will need that funding to be as prepared as we need to be.”

In the meantime, a clinical trial of a drug developed by Foster City based Gilead Sciences is now underway to treat coronavirus patients. The drug, called remdesivir, is an antiviral treatment previously testing in humans with Ebola. 

Doctors say we should know soon if it works on those with the coronavirus.

“A few days ago, we initiated a randomized controlled trial of a drug called remdesivir, which has antiviral activity in vitro in an animal model,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said. “Which means we we will know reasonably soon whether it works and if it does, we will then have an effective therapy to distribute.”

The first person taking part in this trial was a person who was aboard that cruise ship in Japan and was flown directly to Nebraska where those tests are being taken place.

Clinical trials are also going on in addition to Nebraska, in China.

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