The Race to Develop a Coronavirus Treatment in 60 Days


This rapid response team has been preparing for a pandemic for years. Now, they’re developing a treatment for COVID-19 at breakneck speed. Here’s how.
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As the novel coronavirus outbreak switched from epidemic to global pandemic, and COVID-19 continued to sweep across the globe, a team launched back in 2017 by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been working tirelessly toward safely developing an antibody therapy that can provide immediate immunity to the virus.

To find out more about this rapid pandemic response, we spoke with Dr. James Crowe, the Director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center, who is a part of this special team of experts, universities, and advanced genetic sequencing groups who are trained to deliver rapid treatments in the midst of an outbreak.

While drug programs typically take years, a decade even, the goal of the Pandemic Prevention Program, or P3, is to be able to treat people just 60 days later when an epidemic occurs. In a simulation last year, the team was able to complete the timeline in approximately 78 days, but with coronavirus continuing to spread, the team has switched from simulation to reality.

Find out more about P3 and the work experts are doing to respond to COVID-19 as quickly as possible in this Focal Point.

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“The P3 program’s plan was to start with a new pathogen and to ‘develop technology to deliver medical countermeasures in under 60 days—which was crazy, unheard of,’ says Jenkins.”

DARPA Aims To Have Coronavirus Therapy Shortly After Outbreak’s Start
“The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency supports a pandemic preparedness program that is designed to respond rapidly to an emerging threat such as the coronavirus.”

The Possible COVID-19 Treatments Researchers Are Excited About
“But given the speed at which SARS-CoV-2 is infecting new hosts on every continent across the globe, those trials are being ushered along at a breakneck pace, telescoping the normal development and testing time by as much as half.”

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