Building on deep scientific knowledge gained from decades of experience with viruses such as MERS, SARS, influenza, HIV and Hepatitis C, biopharmaceutical companies have made unprecedented progress in advancing potential treatments and vaccines to help fight COVID-19. Yet prior research into infectious diseases is not the only source of scientific insight. Some potential COVID-19 treatments have drawn inspiration from an unexpected source: cancer.
For the past few decades, researchers have applied our growing understanding of how the immune system fights cancer to the development of new treatments, which has led to the field of immuno-oncology or immunotherapy. Now scientists are taking the lessons of immunotherapy to fight against infectious diseases like COVID-19.