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Vancouver-based company awaits approval to go to clinical trials with drug related to coronavirus effects

The president and CEO of CytoDyn Inc. believes leronlimab will help people with moderate to severe cases of coronavirus.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A Vancouver-based company believes it has the answer to helping provide treatment for people with the coronavirus.

Nader Pourhassan, President and CEO of CytoDyn Inc., believes the drug, leronlimab, will help people with moderate to severe cases of COVID-19.

Pourhassan says coronavirus deaths have been linked to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. It is caused by inflammation of the lungs. Leronlimab is an anti-inflammatory drug.

Pourhassan and his team submitted an investigational new drug application to the FDA late last week. CytoDyn Inc. is now waiting for the green light to go to clinical trials.

"We are not a vaccine. we are not a cure," said Pourhassan, emphasizing that his company hopes the drug will help ease some of the effects of coronavirus.

The CytoDyn Inc. team said it is confident leronlimab will have an impact on coronavirus patients. Pourhassan said there are treatment clinics on both coasts ready for people who are sick with the virus and that his company could make more than 30,000 doses of the drug available.

"If you stop people from dying, all the panic goes away," said Pourhassan. "You just have to worry about people not dying ... the panic comes when there's a small percentage that die."

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Federal health officials have said repeatedly that while there are some drugs under development that may help ease the symptoms, a cure or vaccine for COVID-19 could be 12 to 18 months away. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have not approved any vaccine against the illness nor any medicines specifically designed to treat it.

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