COVID-19 Update | March 20, 2020

COVID-19 News

COVID-19 Update | March 20, 2020

March 20, 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 March 20, 2020. Notable advancements include:


  • California-based pharmaceutical company Gilead is testing Remdesivir (a potential antiviral treatment) in five COVID-19 clinical trials.
  • Inovio Pharmaceuticals expects to launch Phase 1 testing of a COVID-19 vaccine on roughly 30 to 50 healthy people in April.
  • The University of California is deploying in-house COVID-19 testing, a move that can accelerate the testing process.


Recent News:


  • An updated guide to the coronavirus drugs and vaccines in development
    STAT – March 19, 2020
    In the months since the novel coronavirus rose from a regional crisis to a global threat, drug makers large and small have scrambled to advance their best ideas for thwarting a pandemic. Some are taking a cue from older antivirals. Some are tapping tried-and-true technologies, and others are pressing forward with futuristic approaches to human medicine.
  • U.S. Approves Abbot Labs Coronavirus Test For Hospital UseForbes – March 18, 2020
    Abbott Laboratories won U.S. approval for its molecular test for the Coronavirus strain COVID-19, which will be used by hospitals and academic medical centers to speed diagnostic capabilities for the disease sweeping across the country.
  • Hundreds of Scientists Scramble to Find a Coronavirus Treatment
    New York Times – March 17, 2020
    Many scientists are seeking drugs that attack the virus itself. But the Quantitative Biosciences Institute Coronavirus Research Group, based at the University of California, San Francisco, is testing an unusual new approach. The researchers are looking for drugs that shield proteins in our own cells that the coronavirus depends on to thrive and reproduce.
  • Trials of potential coronavirus treatments start for some existing drugs
    Reuters – March 16, 2020
    Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said on Monday they began a clinical trial of their rheumatoid arthritis drug Kevzara as a coronavirus treatment, while in Spain a separate trial is studying if a combination of two drugs can slow down the spread of coronavirus among people.
  • A Virus’ One Purpose, and How Vaccines Thwart It
    KQED – March 16, 2020
    As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread around the Bay Area and the world, the National Institutes of Health says a vaccine for the public is at least a year away. Still, researchers around the world are already working on it, and some clinical trials have begun. To learn about the latest efforts, KQED’s Brian Watt visited the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology, a nonprofit research center in San Francisco. He spoke with Senior Researcher Dr. Melanie Ott.

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


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