Inside the frantic race to find a drug to fight coronavirus

Scientists are testing whether existing FDA-approved drugs can fight novel coronavirus.
7:17 | 03/19/20

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Transcript for Inside the frantic race to find a drug to fight coronavirus
While cities across the world are shutting down to help stop the spread of corona virus tonight many of the best scientists in the world are busy at work their goal. Find an existing drug that will treat corona virus and they are hopefully days or weeks away and not years. Our own Eva pilgrim was granted incredible access to this research and has more on the unprecedented worldwide effort underway right now. Afraid to fight under way to slow ugly global pandemic. Was not viable. Wars but we'll still filed club. Infections but the effort to find a treatment for corona virus crossing borders creating an unprecedented. International collaboration it. In San Francisco California and 900000. People were asked to shelter in place or maybe a little creepy and with a the scary almost everything is closed but not this loud and the University of California San Francisco. This is the front lines of oh round the clock fight against a silent killer that truly has been a race against the clock net. Crow been is director at the quantitative biosciences. Institute he's on a critical mission. Trying to discover if any FDA approved drugs can slow the corona virus. Corner virus can exist by itself but it needs ourselves. In order to survive and at high jocks are proof. In a way that's beneficial for. Virus so it bothers a lot of effort out there are trying to develop drugs to target. The pirates yeah which is great we're taking a different approach from now and it hasn't T tilt battle plan. Essentially we're making a map can how corner virus problem. Hi jocks in real wires into a human cell can during the course of construction continues. Yeah is teen art focusing on the virus but its hopes to us we're looking. The human cells the virus that means an end and looking at FDA approved drugs that are available. Nevin found 29 proteins in the DNA of the virus and then followed the virus attack to find which of them are more than 20000 proteins it interacts with that information. Critical narrowing down for scientists to beware to to focus how many of these proteins have previously approved drugs that can target them on his feet for other diseases this isn't the first Matt Grogan team has created in 2011 he met HIV get a bola west Dallas and Denton gave me. In this case he's hoping the map help scientists figure out a treatment for corona virus that works for now. I think it takes an average of at least six years in order to come up with a broad but if we can you are used drugs that exist for other diseases for a purpose some. We may have a drugs that we can be using right now. Crew in sheared the map would biochemist K five show content who works and in nearby sea and Francisco lab for. Show cot has been working on discovering drugs to help cancer and parkinson's patients he's now working nonstop on corona virus. Everybody else is. Looking at a list of 20000 proteins weakened look at a list of 200 so. To pick the 200 out of 20000 and a focus on those campuses. Really trying to accelerate. Things by year's show god says he's found about sixty drugs tent which are already FDA approved that interact with the same proteins as the virus. He's still looking for more news. The manner and those ten drugs have been shipped across the world to two labs that contestant who live virus. The pastoral institute in Paris we hear how the expertise. And the ability to rotavirus. Occupiers. The test runs against. And New York's mount Sinai hospital. I don't Garcia's castrate is a virologist he recreated the Spanish flu of 1918 he's created vaccines before he his most recognizable discovery. Flu mist a right now. And it eighty trucks will help slow this pandemic. We'll get the results in one week. Sunday night depending on what they that we have that we would move into a remote Mobil's. And Seahawks are. The doll clothes wife also works in a different wrapped in a Fernandez says but is also hard at work he said it's all hands that. Absolutely it is all on Sunday saw I had studied boasted to my team everybody while volunteers like it does women you have to prioritize I now mud dump those studies the effects in animals. Looks at that viral invasion in people whom we gain the time basically like not trying to leave mentally ill will really trying to. Kind of utilize what we wouldn't have wanted to know these science is just part of the hundreds in labs around the world work. Together and in this new normal social distancing and communicating using a shared folder for information and video teleconferencing daily museum to share findings every one killed when a sense of emergency units. Basically. 24 hours a day of you know data flying back and four if you go to sleep you wake up there's ten new emails and. Lists of changed this roadmap while confusing to the untrained eye it offers these brilliant minds of some direction on how to get to a treatment and surprising them giving them information about how the virus attacks and the scientists didn't expect to find. Some of the proteins and the list they don't make sense. You know like why would this protein by with the virus use this protein wheat we think that protein is involved in. Some thing that we've never thought viruses Hughes but. A lot of our human proteins they moonlight they'd have to function we know about but then they also do something else maybe the virus co opted that. This search for so many other important scientific answers put on hold. These scientists work to find an answer took her this pandemic. Urgency is making us realize we need to cooperate are true believers for operations were put in place not army really making this move. A speed that hasn't existed before and I also want to say thank I think we're changing. The paradigm of how to do science it's that the chance to have an impact on something that is a worldwide public health crisis. Grogan hopes to have the road map posted online by the end of the week for all science is to see and use. His hope this unprecedented team effort will flatten. The curse off to the scientific community will be able to look at amount look at our predictions maybe make new prediction. About what's therapies are which drugs could be used to. Fight this fires in the short term. I would say that there's eighty you know probably at 2% chance that we could identify drug that is FDA approved. Ands and maybe. It would be well enough understood that it could be used in patients in you know. A month that would keep the fastest of the fast as though he almost a miracle. And sciences brightest minds teaming up on this noon shock with real potential to save. So many lives. We are certainly cheering on the scientific community.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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