COVID-19 Update | April 3, 2020

COVID-19 News

COVID-19 Update | April 3, 2020

April 3, 2020

As circumstances around coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to evolve quickly, the California Biotechnology Foundation wants to keep you informed about the progress being made by biotechnology researchers in California and across the nation to expand available testing, treat the virus and prevent its spread.

The following resources track what progress has been made as of April 3, 2020. Notable advancements include:


  • Merck & Co., Inc., Pfizer Inc., and Eli Lilly and Company announced medical service volunteer programs to enable their employees to aid in the fight against COVID-19.
  • Johnson & Johnson has partnered with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to fund over $1 billion in COVID-19 vaccine and antiviral treatment research.
  • The FDA granted emergency use authorization to Abbott’s ID NOW COVID-19 test, which can deliver positive results in five minutes and negative results in thirteen.
  • San Diego-based Arcturus Therapeutics is developing a vaccine using self-replicating RNA, partnering with Duke University and the National University of Singapore.


​Recent News:


  • Biotech Pioneer Amgen Joins Hunt for Coronavirus Drug
    Wall Street Journal – April 2, 2020
    Big biotech company Amgen Inc. is joining the race to discover new drugs that can treat the novel coronavirus, the latest drugmaker redirecting resources toward the pandemic.
  • COVID-19 vaccine candidates: 6 front-runners
    ABC News – March 31, 2020
    While the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine is well underway with over 40 hopeful candidates, only three have entered “Phase I” of clinical trials, the first of three stages of human testing before drug approval.
  • CRISPR pioneer Doudna opens lab to run Covid-19 tests
    STAT – March 30, 2020
    A team of academic and industry researchers led by Jennifer Doudna, the researcher best known for her role in the discovery of the gene editing technology called CRISPR, has turned a 2,500-square-foot scientific laboratory into a facility for running medical tests to detect the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19.
  • Local biotech company working to develop potential coronavirus vaccine
    Fox 5 San Diego – March 30, 2020
    In the global race to find a vaccine for coronavirus, there are only a few dozen companies — and two of the companies working to get to the finish line are in San Diego. One of those companies, Arcturus Therapeutics, is using a unique approach to build its vaccine through self-replicating RNA.
  • Gilead CEO: ‘Working at unprecedented speed’ to snuff out COVID-19
    San Francisco Business Journal – March 30, 2020
    In an open letter published this weekend, Gilead Chairman and CEO Daniel O’Day explained why the Foster City-based company (NASDAQ: GILD) last week switched from individual “compassionate use” requests for its drug, called remdesivir.
  • Study helps to identify medications which are safe to use in treatment of COVID-19
    Science Daily – March 30, 2020
    A recent study has found that there is no evidence for or against the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen for patients with COVID-19. The study, led by researchers at King’s College London, also found other types of drugs, such as TNF blockers and JAK inhibitors safe to use.
  • Century-Old Vaccine Investigated as a Weapon Against Coronavirus
    Bloomberg – March 29, 2020
    The bacillus Calmette-Guerin, or BCG, shot has been used widely for about 100 years, with a growing appreciation for its off-target benefits. Not only is it a common immunotherapy for early-stage bladder cancer, it also seems to train the body’s first line of immune defense to better fight infections.
  • Big Pharma companies join forces for fightback against COVID-19
    Fierce Biotech – March 27, 2020
    Companies including Novartis and Pfizer are contributing to the joint response through actions including the sharing of proprietary compound libraries. The companies held a conference call with leaders at the Gates Foundation earlier this month, leading 15 businesses to commit to sharing parts of their compound libraries.


California Biotechnology Foundation will continue to monitor breaking news and provide updates weekly.


Stay informed on the latest news and trends on the economic and health benefits of this important industry by visiting the new


If you have any questions about informational briefings contact California Biotechnology Foundation Executive Director Patty Cooper at (916)764-2434 or [email protected].