Research teams from Scripps Research and UC San Diego are seeking COVID-19 survivals willing to donate blood that will be screened for antibodies that could possibly fight COVID-19. Part of a nationwide drive to investigate and understand the virus, scientists hope that these samples and the intensive analyses occurring will contribute to the development of a vaccine. The Scripps team has some experience in these efforts even playing a pivotal role in the creation of Humira, the world’s highest selling drug. Dennis Burton leads the charge down in San Diego.
Wanted: Blood Samples
Dennis Burton, co-chair of immunology and microbiology at Scripps Research, conveys their interests in securing blood samples from COVID-19 survivors to the San Diego Union Tribune. He noted that “Antibodies tend to improve with time.” These proteins are amazing—not only helping people to maintain health but also involve themselves in neutralizing bacteria and viruses. Burton reports that COVID-19 is especially threatening those with weakened immune systems.
The Scripps Research/UC San Diego Team
The high powered, San Diego-based research partnership seeks five to ten COVID-19 survivors to get enough blood to identify potential antibodies—will people come forward? Securing the blood samples can potentially contribute to the growing race to find promising candidates for research grade antibodies. Burton noted to the San Diego Union Tribune the partnership has the wherewithal to “isolate antibodies in a matter of days and show if they are effective within days or weeks.” He continued with a challenge however, that “producing them in large amounts is harder.” Noting that they need to partner with “the pharmaceutical industry for that. It would take months to get enough antibodies to treat large numbers of people. The antibodies wouldn’t be available to help with what’s going on right now.” Burton’s important wisdom: “But the sooner you start, the better.”
Dennis Burton, PhD, co-chair of immunology and microbiology at Scripps Research
Tom Rogers, MD, UC San Diego, assistant adjunct professor, Medicine
Call to Action: If you live in the San Diego area and have survived the virus please reach out to Dr. Tom Rogers, professor of medicine at UC San Diego at [email protected]