COVID-19 – What can be done to beat this global pandemic?

As all countries scramble to try and “flatten the curve” as COVID-19 advances, the Healthcare communities struggle to keep up with the onslaught.
Will it be worse than the “Spanish Flu” of 1918, well described in John M Barry’s book “The Great Influenza”? We don’t yet know but it is already by far the worst healthcare crisis in living memory.
What is certain is that this catastrophic emergence of a novel virus as the globe becomes more crowded was always inevitable. Viruses are adaptable and when different species of animals are in close proximity to humans the opportunity for a virus to jump species and transmit to humans is present but has until now largely been overlooked. But it is not new. ”Swine Flu” (H1N1) jumped from pigs to humans; “Bird Flu” (H5N1) jumped from birds; Ebola, and possibly Marburg, jumped from bats. In all these cases the viruses were harmless to their animal hosts – but in all cases serious to potentially deadly once transferred to humans.

Read more about the antiviral therapeutic oligomers (“gene patches”) that were built more than 10 years ago, in Defy Your DNA (chapter 6). At the request of the US Department of Defense gene patches were built against:

H1N1 Influenza
Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever
Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever
Dengue Fever

Whatever happened to these emerging therapeutics? Several made it into clinical studies, some funded by US Dept of Defense grants. However working with the US government turned out to be challenging when the Government shut down and all funding was halted. Alas, I do not know what happened to these promising candidates or the technology underpinning them. AVI BioPharma became Sarepta Therapeutics and they had to prioritize focus on their many programs in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Here are some press releases about those antiviral programs:

From 2009:
H1N1 funding from US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA):
Ebola and Marburg fevers:
Ebola, Marburg and Junin Virus infections: DTRA Transformational Medical Technologies Initiative (TMTI) grant:

From 2010:
TMTI response to the threat of Swine Flu (H1N1):
AVI contract with DTRA to build stocks of Therapeutic Oligomer against pandemic swine flu:
The TMT programs for Ebola and Marburg:
Promising data from the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) against Ebola and Marburg viruses:
And promising data against swine flu:

From 2011:
Developing the Oligomer for Dengue in 11 days:
Starting the clinical safety studies (I designed) against Ebola and Marburg:

From 2012:
Promising clinical safety in humans for the Ebola and Marburg Oligomers:
US Government pull the funding for the Ebola program due to “funding constraints”:
But Sarepta entered into a partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (where Dr Anthony Fauci is now Director) for a Influenza A treatment (of which H1N1 is an example):

From 2013:
Progress in the Marburg program:
Favorable safety of the Flu Oligomer:
Publication of the results of clinical testing with Ebola and Marburg Oligomers:

From 2015:
Another clinical study reports on the Marburg program:

But nothing since 2015 as Sarepta concentrate on their many programs in the devastating neuromuscular disease, Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Angelina Jolie and gene patch medicine

Could Gene Patch Meds (Oligos) Prevent Mastectomies Like Angelina Jolie’s?

Genetic Testing is Surprisingly Easy and Affordable According to Author of New Gene Patch Medicine (Oligonucleotide) Book

San Francisco, CA (5/15/13) Genetic testing showed that Angelina Jolie had an 87% chance of getting breast cancer. So Jolie had both breasts removed in a double mastectomy to prevent it. In a New York Times Op-Ed piece on May 14, 2013, she expressed a wish for all women with a family history of the disease: “It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested. If they have a high risk they, too, will know that they have strong options.”

Angelina Jolie and gene patch medicine

Angelina Jolie and gene patch medicine

Genetic testing was once something only movie stars could afford. But prices have come down so much in recent years that almost everyone can afford it, according to Dr. Stephen Shrewsbury. He recently wrote the book, Defy Your DNA: How the New Gene Patch Personalized Medicines Will Help You Overcome Your Greatest Health Challenges (10 Finger Press/2013). Shrewsbury says that a number of companies make gene testing easy and affordable. “They send you a simple spit test kit. They then test the cells in your spit for as many as 200 traits, including for breast cancer” he says. “If your test shows you have a higher risk of breast cancer, you should consider further testing for the BRCA1 and 2 genes, as Angelina Jolie did.”

Gene Patch Testing by Genetics Testing Laboratory

Companies like Genetics Testing Laboratory ( of Las Cruces, New Mexico and 23andMe of Mountain View, California let you know your risk for a wide variety of diseases, including breast cancer, diabetes, other cancers, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. The cost of testing for all of these at Genetics Testing Laboratory is $285 (reduced by 30% with a special discount voucher available to those who buy one of the first 1000 copies of Defy Your DNA).

“In some cases,” says Shrewsbury, “the test can put your mind at ease. In others, especially in terms of Alzheimer’s and heart disease, it can encourage you to make changes to lower your risks.”

Jolie’s mother died at age 56 after a ten-year long battle with cancer. Jolie had the mastectomy done in part for her children’s peace of mind.

In his book, Shrewsbury says that there are already medicines being developed so that in future surgery won’t be needed. Instead of a mastectomy, a gene patch medicine (an oligonucleotide) can be given. “These new personalized medicines will patch or fix the genetic defects that cause breast cancer. When they’re finally approved, women won’t have to have surgery in order to remain healthy.”


Gene Patents Case Accelerates Oligonucleotides (Gene Patch) Development

Supreme Court Ruling on Gene Patents Will Speed Up Oligonucleotides Revolution in Health Care. That is According to Author of New Gene Patch Medicine (Oligonucleotides) Book

On June 13, 2013, the United States Supreme Court ruled that naturally occurring human genes can’t be patented. The decision should encourage researchers to move forward with potentially life-saving genetic testing for a variety of diseases.



Dr. Stephen B. Shrewsbury says that the decoding of the human genome has led to the discovery of dozens of new medicines that may prevent or treat genetic disease. Shrewsbury has just published Defy Your DNA: How the New Gene Patch Personalized Medicines Will Help You Overcome Your Greatest Health Challenges. Called oligos, oligomers or oligonucleotides, these medicines are nicknamed gene patches. Shrewsbury says “these gene patches act like computer software patches. They fix the faulty message that comes from a damaged pieces of genetic code. If those faulty genes were patented, it would make it more difficult for researchers to develop these patches”.

Dr. Shrewsbury adds: “This new type of drug has the potential to stop everything from cancer and diabetes to rare diseases like muscular dystrophy and sickle cell anemia. These medicines will revolutionize healthcare. They may be the greatest medical breakthrough since penicillin.”


Shrewsbury predicts blockbuster drugs will be replaced in future by personalized medicines. These very accurate gene patches will be very precise and personal to you and your disease. In the more distant future, gene patch therapy will be superseded by gene replacement therapy. Then new genes may be inserted while removing damaged ones.

The Supreme Court ruled that patents owned by Salt Lake City-based Myriad Genetics were void. The court noted that the patents covered DNA isolated from the human body. The court said that was different from synthetic DNA being created in a lab. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote: “We hold that a naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature. It is not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated.”

This ruling is a win-win for both Oligonucleotides researchers and patients alike, believes Dr. Shrewsbury. The ruling will help medical research on drugs such as those described in Defy Your DNA. “A big benefit with this new type of gene patch (oligo) medicine is that the development program should take less time,” he says. He also believes costs of genetic profile testing will become more affordable for the average family. Together genetic testing and gene patch medicines (oligos) will lead to a brave new medical world.

“In the not too distant future, when a child is born, they’ll be required to have two documents: a birth certificate and a map of their DNA” added Shrewsbury. “From birth we will know what diseases we run greater risks of getting, how to better avoid them or when to start focused testing for their early detection.

New Gene Patch Medicines

The overall focus of medicine is a concept that has been highly structured for several decades. Many modern day physicians now offer personalized approaches to help fight their patient’s illness. New waves of alternative drugs have been able to effectively target patients with specific needs. Ultimately, these new “personalized drugs” can potentially pose a threat to the thousands of mainstream drugs available today. New DNA-based drugs focus on providing a more effective solution to overcoming and preventing rare diseases. These drugs are the new gene patch medicines.

Dr. Stephen B. Shrewsbury, MD

StephenShrewsburyMD, Author of Defy Your DNA, New Gene Patch Medicines

StephenShrewsburyMD, Author of Defy Your DNA, the New Gene Patch Medicines

Dr. Stephen B. Shrewsbury, MD is the author of Defy Your DNA. One of Dr. Shrewsbury’s many goals in writing this book is to provide hope to those faced with a rare genetic disease. Throughout the book, he discusses the introduction of various “gene-patch” medicines. These gene patch therapies will be able to help thousands of Americans identify and prevent diseases before they become ill.

Defy Your DNA offers insight to how specialized drugs can patch up mistakes located in our DNA. The rare diseases that can be adverted include Muscular Dystrophy and Lou Gehrig’s disease. It is reported that these medications will also be able to tackle cancer, asthma and high cholesterol. Shrewsbury is paving the way for a more direct and targeted approach to becoming familiar with your DNA as well as offering a solution to health issues that were previously recognized as terminal.

Defy Your DNA

Shrewsbury has dedicated the book to those who have previously participated in a drug study of some sort. He recognizes that without these brave individuals, new drugs or advances in pharmaceuticals would not be possible. Defy Your DNA begins by discussing the evolution of medicine and where it stands now. Dr. Shrewsbury makes note of how generalized medicine has shifted into a more personal approach.

One of the most interesting chapters would have to be “New Drugs for Bad Bugs” which further explains how new medicines will block harmful viruses. Today, Dr. Shrewsbury has established Shrewd Consulting LLC which encourages and advises biotechnology and biopharmaceutical companies who also seek to develop new drugs which will combat genetic disorders.

New Gene Patch Medicines

Three main ways on how gene patches will revolutionize medicine, include:

  • They are designed reproducibly and are incredibly accurate, to patch a tiny piece including 30 letters of the human genome’s 3 billion letters. Once the sequences of those letters have been determined, the gene patches can be built quickly.
  • Gene patch medication can target various parts of the human genome. It can prevent and counter rare diseases that are treated poorly or not at all by today’s sophisticated medicines.
  • Once the FDA has gained experience with some of these gene patches, companies developing new ones will use the same basic backbone chemistry, which will allow faster development and path to approval for a wide range of new drugs. This will ensure more medicine is readily available to treat more people; many with challenging diseases who have been neglected until now.

“A number of these drugs currently in research could be submitted to the FDA for final approval in the next year” says Shrewsbury. “A big benefit with this new type of medicine is that the early phase of drug development before clinical trials start takes less time, in some cases, days instead of years. These medications will literally revolutionize healthcare.”

Prevent rare diseases with the new gene patch medicines” was originally published in DNA Testing Blog