Drug Innovation Ventures at Emory (DRIVE), an Atlanta nonprofit biotechnology company owned by Emory University, launched a GoFundMe charity campaign to help accelerate testing for its antiviral compound that could potentially be used to treat the new coronavirus associated with the outbreak in China and spreading around the globe.
After four days the effort has raised just short of $22,000 of the $5 million goal.
While a related treatment, administered via injection, is currently being evaluated for COVID-19 in China, DRIVE’s approach is centered around an oral pill. Having an effective treatment for COVID-19 in pill form would allow the treatment to be more easily distributed to patients around the globe, which is a vital component in ending the epidemic, according to the firm.
DRIVE is developing the compound, designated EIDD-2801, which the nonprofit’s officials said has shown efficacy against other coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus) and MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus).
The research has been primarily funded by government agencies for the treatment of Influenza, coronavirus, chikungunya and Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus. While great progress has been made due to this support, additional urgent funds are needed to accelerate testing and development in order to prove its safety and efficacy in humans and ultimately bring it to the general population.
“We are working extremely hard to move its development forward as fast as possible with the hope of helping to address the new conoravirus outbreak,” according to George Painter, Ph.D., chief executive officer of DRIVE.
“In addition to its good activity against coronavirus, EIDD-2801 is one of the few antiviral agents that is not just a ‘one bug, one drug’ compound,” said Dennis Liotta, Ph.D., executive director of Emory Institute for Drug Development. “It’s active against multiple viruses including inter alia, influenza and Ebola. This would make it a useful compound to prepare and store to help quell future pandemics.”
The funds will be used to accelerate the development of EIDD-2801 for the treatment of COVID-19 and to help develop other antivirals to address future pandemics.
To view the GoFundMe, please visit: charity.gofundme.com/end-pandemics-now