As the number of cases of the omicron variant begin ticking higher, Bay Area biotech companies -- already fighting COVID-19 full-time -- drilled down to focus on the newest variant.
“As new variants have arisen, we test them,” said Vir Biotechnology CEO, George Scangos.
Early testing of the company’s antibody drug to fight earlier strains of COVID-19 are likely effective against the omicron variant.
San Francisco’s Vir said it’s taking on each variant one at a time, with hopes of fighting COVID as a whole.
“We're hopeful that we can get to a point that we don't have to worry about the next variant. That we can have a vaccine that can protect you against all the variants,” said Scangos.
The research company has been busier than ever.
"Everyone is more on edge now, and wondering what the new versions are,” said Claes Gustafsson, co-founder of ATUM.
The Newark biotech company develops synthetic proteins used by other biotech firms to identify and fight COVID variants.
Their goal is to bring companies onto the same page because they’re all fighting for the same result.
"It's great to see everyone coming together and everyone trying to help out, even what used to be competitors and vendors and customers,” said Gustafsson. “At the end of the day, we're all in the same game and trying to put a stop to COVID as quickly as possible."
ATUM says the fight against COVID is now moving so quickly. Within hours of scientists detecting the omicron variant, requests for the latest protein models were already coming in.