COVID-19 Q&A: Sanford Research on vaccine, finding a cure

Dr. Pearce: 'We’ll be a very active participant' in testing vaccines, cures

Sharon Hunt and David Pearce are shown in a Sanford Research lab

Sanford Research will be at the forefront, leading the way when it comes to testing for a treatment or a cure for the novel coronavirus, according to David Pearce, Ph.D., president of research and innovation for Sanford Health.

In the meantime, Sanford Research is operating “as close to normal” as it can.

“We are not going to let this slow us down. That’s the right thing for us to do,” Dr. Pearce said.

His team just became the first to lead a comprehensive clinical trial investigating the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, to understand its role in treating and potentially preventing COVID-19.

Leading the way for patients

“Everyone has said this at some point: ‘I wish more could be done.’ That’s exactly what this situation is right now. We need to do more,” Dr. Pearce said. “We continue to test things, we continue to explore things because that’s what research is. Sanford Research will be on the forefront of testing these new compounds and approaches to treat this disease and get to a vaccine as soon as possible.”

Sanford Research is known worldwide for introducing new treatments to patients for disorders ranging from cancer to rare diseases, bringing the latest from the bench to the bedside.

What is Sanford’s role in developing a vaccine?

“We’re a site for many vaccine studies and typically have been,” Dr. Pearce explained. “We have a tremendous infectious disease group here at Sanford. We’re already talking to companies as they’re developing their vaccine, and we’re already talking to companies as they develop their first in-human studies for the treatments and the cures, potentially, for COVID. So we’ll be a very active participant in that because we have the talent, in terms of our physicians and research, to institute that, we have talent with our clinical research, and we have tremendous leadership in this organization in terms of we want to crack this problem.”

Typically vaccine development can take between nine to 18 months. With all the efforts worldwide, Dr. Pearce is optimistic there will be a vaccine in a shorter possible period of time.

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Posted In Coronavirus, Expert Q&A, Research

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