Inside Argonne's fight against coronavirus in DuPage County

In DuPage County, researchers are working day and night searching for answers to the coronavirus.

They've done it before in this same lab. Back in 1996, scientists unlocked the door leading to new drug treatment for HIV and more recently, a vaccine for Ebola.

Using this same lab to investigate the SARS outbreak in 2003, scientists from the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the University of California are using it now to research the coronavirus epidemic. 

So far, their findings show the SARS drug can help treat coronavirus, but the drug needs to be improved upon.

“It gives us the opportunity to see from where the atoms are, how can others design a better drug that will bind more effectively and have less side effects,” said Bob Fischetti, Argonne National Laboratory.  

It’s a crisis internationally as thousands have died. In the U.S., nine casualties are to blame because of the coronavirus. 

It’s a race against time and scientists are starting to see signs of hope. They’ve been able to figure out in some cases how the virus replicates in humans.

“Our group has solved three structures and one from Purdue University,” said Dr. Karolina Michalska, Argonne National Laboratory.      

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases funds this research.

The director says a coronavirus vaccine is at least a year away.