By Maxine Nunes
Two existing drugs, created by a City of Hope scientist using advanced genomic technology, are being tested for their potential to fight the COVID-19 epidemic. One could be used to prevent the novel coronavirus infection, the other to stop the “cytokine storm,” an immune system overreaction that causes most COVID deaths. Both drugs were developed by John J. Rossi, Ph. D., Lidow Family Research Chair of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at City of Hope, and his longtime collaborator Nagy A. Habib, M.D., of Imperial College, London. These drugs are at the forefront of an exciting new class of medications called small activating RNAs, which transmit disease-fighting instructions to a part of the gene called a transcriptome, which then carries them out. “It’s a whole new concept of dealing with viruses,” said Rossi, “an RNA molecule that acts like an antibody.”
By Samantha Bonar
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) awarded $750,000 to City of Hope’s John Zaia, M.D., for a clinical study on the use of blood plasma as a potential treatment for COVID-19. CIRM had approved emergency funding for COVID-19 research last month. Zaia, program director of the CIRM-funded City of Hope Alpha Stem Cell Clinic, will conduct the study to administer blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients to treat those with the virus.
As California and many other states have taken extreme measures to halt the spread of COVID-19, many people are still finding themselves falling ill, with symptoms ranging from coughs and sore throats to stomach problems and fevers. As an illness comes on, the worry of having contracted COVID-19 looms large.
By Joanna Gale
Veterinary care during the COVID-19 pandemic