Bay Area at the Forefront of COVID-19 Treatment and Vaccine Search

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Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci had a troubling message for the public Thursday saying the country is still in a "challenging period" when it comes to its coronavirus response. 

And the Bay Area is helping lead the way when it comes to treatment and a vaccine.

“It really is the perfect storm in an infectious disease, public health medicine’s worst nightmare,” Fauci said. 

He made that statement at the Hill’s Future of Healthcare Summit as states across the south and western United States are experiencing massive outbreaks, California included.  He worries about COVID’s transmission rate.

“The efficiency with which this transmits is really striking,” Fauci said. 

Striking because he says people can walk around with no symptoms while others get sick and die.    

“Hopefully we’ll have scientific advances in the form of therapies and vaccines to compliment successful public health endeavors,” Fauci said.

The Bay Area is at the forefront of those endeavors. Gilead Sciences in Foster City is involved in the clinical trial of remdesivir, the first drug to show promise in treating COVID patients.

“Most studies require hundreds of thousands of people to be tested before a vaccine is approved,” said Dr. Yvonne Maldonaldo, professor of pediatrics with a focus on infectious diseases at Stanford.

She says three of her colleagues are advising the federal government on vaccine development.

“What we are doing is working on the laboratory side to understand the laboratory values the way the cells would respond to the vaccine,” said Maldonado.

Clinical trials for a vaccine are on a fast track, experts are hoping a vaccine could become a reality sometime next year.

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