Avast News

Avast CEO interviews COVID-19 expert Dr. Nick Cammack

Malea Lamb-Hall, 17 July 2020

Dr. Nick Cammack of Wellcome Therapeutics Accelerator joins Avast CEO Ondrej Vlcek to discuss progress on treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 and more

At the end of April, Avast made multiple donations to help accelerate research around COVID-19 testing, treatments, and vaccine development. Avast set out to donate to organizations that use technology to accelerate medical research in COVID-19 treatments and preventions — in particular, research that addresses the cause rather than the symptoms. 

Avast CEO Ondrej Vlcek will be hosting a COVID-19 Donation Partner Executive Series, featuring members of these organizations to discuss how each organization is contributing and to get an update on the state of COVID-19 treatments and research. 

In his first interview, Vlcek interviews Dr. Nick Cammack, COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator Lead at Wellcome. Ondrej and Nick discuss the Wellcome Therapeutics Accelerator, and the challenges that come with working to understand a new virus in parallel with trying to create treatments and vaccines. 

During the interview, Nick emphasizes the importance of assimilating the massive amount of information that’s getting revealed regarding coronavirus research. Nick also walks through 3 different treatment plans currently being researched in terms of a cure or a treatment: repurposed medicines, monoclonal antibodies, and small chemical molecules specific to coronavirus.  

Repurposed medicines are medicines that were developed for other conditions since their safety is well known—the quickest way to find a treatment. A promising treatment is monoclonal antibodies, individual antibodies known to inhibit the virus, which helps the body fast-forward the immune response and get an upper hand in dealing with the virus. Finally, small chemical molecules specific for the virus are being researched. If another strain of coronavirus were to emerge in the future, this solution would work longer term. 

 Nick also covers the importance of having both effective treatments and vaccines, citing the need for a widespread coronavirus vaccine to help eradicate the virus and the need for treatments to help those who are not able to create an immune response to fight off the virus or for areas around the world who do not have access to a vaccination program.  

With 115 prototypes of the COVID-19 vaccine being tested, Nick cites that, in order to scale for a global rollout, having multiple successful vaccines will be essential. They end the interview discussing likely timing for a widespread global rollout for treatments and vaccines. 

Watch the full interview now.