Tarrytown-based Regeneron says it could be testing coronavirus treatment within 3-6 months

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The federal government is tapping Tarrytown-based Regeneron to identify a cure for coronavirus, which has killed over 1,000. More than 4,200 others are infected.

When word of China's coronavirus first began to spread back in December, scientists at the world-renowned lab got to work within hours. It gave them a headstart for when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asked for help finding a cure.

CEO Leonard Schleifer addressed the crisis for the first time with News 12's Tara Rosenblum.

"It will overwhelm peoples' heath, our ability to care for them, our emergency rooms," says Schleifer. "It will have a tremendous effect on the economy so this is a real crisis we have to get in front of."

Schleifer says hundreds of scientific minds are hard at work in Tarrytown. He says they're at an advantage by using the same infection-fighting proteins they used against the deadly Ebola outbreak in Africa a few years ago.

"We have several approaches that teams are working on, and one of them we think will be in testing in 3 to 6 months," says Schleifer.

In other words, human testing could begin as early as this summer. That is, Schleifer says, if the world comes together to fight this global threat.

"One of the things frightening is that we don't have all the information," says Schleifer. "It's hard to know exactly whether we get all the information out of China or not, but based on the information we are getting, this has the potential to be a serious health crisis or pandemic."

Regeneron says there is no risk to the residents of Westchester County during their testing, as they will not be using the live coronavirus.



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