2 bio-med companies at Research Triangle Park join fight against COVID-19

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — BioMedInnovations and Heat Biologics are both in high gear in response to the global COVID-19 crisis.

 BioMed is an organ donation medical device company with facilities in Research Triangle Park that is now creating low-cost ventilators. The device will free up other ventilators needed for extremely ill patients.   

“So what we thought is we could provide a ventilator that could support the rest of the population at a level of airflow oxygen flow to the lungs that was sufficient to maintain their needs before they needed to go to the more extreme measure of the hospital ventilator,” said CEO BioMedInnovations CEO Sherif Gabriel.

BioMed has already lined up a number of local manufacturers and hopes to soon produce as many as 1,000 a week.

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“We think we can provide a source that could really ease the burden, hopefully, locally in North Carolina, nationally and perhaps, even globally,” said Gabriel.

Also out of RTP Heat Biologics is working on a COVID-19 testing kit and a vaccine. In collaboration with the University of Miami, the potential vaccine is based on a similar platform of a therapeutic vaccine for cancer patients and what is used to combat Zika, Malaria and HIV/SIV.  

“So it’s a very powerful and robust platform that activates the t-cells or soldiers to go in and invade cells that are infected with the virus or infected with cancer,” said company CEO Jeff Wolf.

In the meantime, scientists at Heat Biologics are also developing a simple test that can detect COVID-19 in just 30 minutes.

“A physician can read it on site we don’t have to send the test, there’s no heavy machinery required to read it no labs no technician. If you see one strip just like a pregnancy test it tells you you don’t have the virus if you see two lines it tell you you do have the virus,” Wolf said.

CBS17 asked both CEOs why they feel it’s so important to step up.  

Wolf responded, “we as a company want to do all that we can to help stem this pandemic with vaccine and a diagnostic.” Gabriel added, “it’s really good to have something to focus on outwards on and to command and contribute your team towards making a greater good.”

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