Trump Team Testing ‘Off-the-Shelf’ Drugs to Cure Coronavirus

Ari Natter

(Bloomberg) -- The Trump administration is testing existing “off-the-shelf” drugs to combat the coronavirus, a cabinet official said Saturday.

A national lab in Tennessee recently made “an important discovery” involving existing drugs, Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland.

“The scientists at our Oak Ridge National Laboratory were able to look at the protein strains and determine -- perhaps, it’s still early -- that we can find some off-the-shelf drugs that can help us not only cure the disease but stop the spread of the infection,” Brouillette said.

Brouillette was responding to a question about what his agency is doing to help combat the virus, which has caused markets to plunge and killed nearly 3,000 people across the globe. In the U.S., where 22 cases have been reported, the virus has killed one person -- a woman from Washington state -- and more cases are likely, President Donald Trump said Saturday.

In addition to the laboratory tests, Brouillette said he’s harnessing the power of his agency’s “super computers” as well as artificial intelligence capabilities to assist organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and the World Heath Organization to conduct modeling on the virus.

“We want to know how far is this going to spread and at what point might it peak,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ari Natter in Washington at anatter5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net, Matthew G. Miller, Virginia Van Natta

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