(KMOV.com) -- Companies around the globe are racing to find a cure to the coronavirus.
They're looking for methods not just to treat, but to ensure people don’t get sick in the first place.
A Netflix documentary, released in January, called Pandemic, featured a company called DistributedBio.
Shahrad Daraeikia, the company’s senior scientist, talked with News 4’s Lauren Trager.
“CEO Jake was in a bio threats meeting in DC in late January and I think this is when the coronavirus was starting to hit, so shortly after, he gave me a call and said, 'I think this is something we need to work on,'” Daraeikia said.
The company had been working on a universal flu vaccine. Instead, they threw every effort at curing COVID-19.
“We moved at a tremendously fast rate, faster than we usually would in other engineering or therapies we have at our company," Daraeikia said.
Their idea: antibodies.
“When you get a viral infection, you have antibodies to attack it and destroy it. In the case of coronavirus, we don't have those antibodies yet,” said Daraeikia.
Other researchers, like those at the Mayo Clinic, have started studying antibodies from recovered coronavirus patients. Some people are even being treated with recovered patients’ plasma.
But Distributed Bio is doing it a little differently, converting antibodies of the previous SARS virus.
“Instead of waiting for the human to develop their own antibodies, we have gone ahead and started engineering our own antibodies in our lab to beat that timeline for the body to develop its own,” Daraeikia said.
The result could possibly be a treatment for people who already sick and prevention for whose who aren’t yet.
“If we can block this infection, that means we have antibodies that work to block this cascade of the virus when it enters the immune system,” he said.
They’re hoping to start trials soon on hamsters, then humans. They said time is of the essence.
“In terms of getting it out faster, we have to stick with the FDA guidelines. and make sure these antibodies are safe for human consumption and don't have any weird or alternative effects in the system,” Daraeikia said.
Like other treatments, testing and development will take time and resources.
“We are doing our best to raise some money and crowd source to move into human trials,” he said.
But they believe the work is important to save lives and move forward.
“So we can go back to our normal lives of being able to go outside. And see family and friends once again,” he said.
The military is helping Distributed Bio with some of their testing. They don’t think the treatment would be online until August, which is still a very expedited timeline for something like this. They’d hope to roll it out to sick people, the elderly and medical professionals, before it would be available to everyone.
They’re also hopeful the lessons learned here will help other scientists also eradicate other viruses in the future.