COVID-19 has many similarities to other coronaviruses. Researchers at Penn Medicine have been studying everything about these viruses for decades. This new center brings together doctors from different backgrounds to better understand, diagnose, and potentially develop a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19.
"We have numerous labs at Penn, at CHOP, Wistar and other places mobilizing to carry out research on a broad range of topics," co-director Dr. Frederic Bushman said.
"We have people in full garb, headgears, respirators, everything working on the virus to try to figure out anti-viral treatments and implement those in our hospital system."
Bushman says they are also exchanging ideas with labs around the world.
One thing they are studying at the center is how this new virus interacts with treatments for SARS and other previous coronaviruses, said Bushman.
"And so the question is: How well do they work? You really don’t know until you test it carefully in clinical trials," Bushman said.
"Based on prior experience, we have a lot of sort of directly usable information that people are trying to follow up on.”
He says there is a lot of talk nationally about drugs being used to treat COVID-19.
Bushman says unless everything is carefully monitored, it’s hard to tell if a certain type of treatment is working or making it worse because people with COVID-19 aren’t having the exact same experiences.