$1.9M contract awarded to Southwest Research Institute to develop COVID-19 cure

Scientists are virtually screening millions of drug compounds

SAN ANTONIO – Researchers and scientists around the world are working tirelessly to come up with a cure or vaccine for COVID-19. The scientific task is underway in San Antonio as well.

A new $1.9 million contract is helping the Southwest Research Institute in their effort to beat the novel coronavirus.

“Accelerating this project in terms of getting it funded is faster than I’ve ever seen in my career,” Dr. Jonathan Bohmann, principal scientist at the Southwest Research Institute said.

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Dr. Bohmann has been a scientist for 25 years and in February he and his team started working on the fight against the coronavirus.

“We already had the tools in place, it was a matter of just applying them to this problem,” Bohmann said.

At the Southwest Research Institute, scientists are virtually screening millions of drug compounds to search for and test possible treatment options in what is a collaborative effort.

“The first thing we do is we test them in our laboratory here to make sure they’re not toxic,” Bohmann said. “What we aim to do for the end-of-the-year show is show efficacy or safety in a small animal.”

And leaders here say the Department of Defense contract will enable SwRI to collaborate to develop safe antiviral drug therapy treatment options for COVID in record.

“We are committed, it’s funded for one year, so we need that, we will have a pressure to get that result,” Bohmann said.

SwRI says it does not have samples of COVID-19 on site.

SwRI COVID-19 research (KSAT)

About the Authors:

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.

Azian Bermea is a photojournalist at KSAT.