Activity of Galidesivir in a Hamster Model of SARS-CoV-2.


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has claimed the lives of millions of people worldwide since it first emerged. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on public health and the global economy has highlighted the medical need for the development of broadly acting interventions against emerging viral threats. Galidesivir is a broad-spectrum antiviral compound with demonstrated in vitro and in vivo efficacy against several RNA viruses of public health concern, including those causing yellow fever, Ebola, Marburg, and Rift Valley fever. In vitro studies have shown that the antiviral activity of galidesivir also extends to coronaviruses. Herein, we describe the efficacy of galidesivir in the Syrian golden hamster model of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Treatment with galidesivir reduced lung pathology in infected animals compared with untreated controls when treatment was initiated 24 h prior to infection. These results add to the evidence of the applicability of galidesivir as a potential medical intervention for a range of acute viral illnesses, including coronaviruses.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Taylor, Ray, Richard Bowen, James F Demarest, Michael DeSpirito, Airn Hartwig, Helle Bielefeldt-Ohmann, Dennis M Walling, Amanda Mathis, et al. (2021). Activity of Galidesivir in a Hamster Model of SARS-CoV-2. Viruses, 14(1). pp. 8–8. 10.3390/v14010008 Retrieved from

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James Francis Demarest

Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Immunology

I have >30 years of experience in the pre-clinical, clinical, and translational research space.  Twenty-three of those years are in the pharma R&D context where I also gained experience in diagnostics, product commercialization and life-cycle management, interactions with Regulatory Authorities, Key Opinion Leaders (globally), and establishment/maintenance of public-private partnerships.  My career trajectory took me from NIH (Dr. Anthony Fauci’s laboratory), to Duke University, to GlaxoWellcome/GSK, ViiV Healthcare, AbbVie Immunology and consultancies.  I was a founding member of the scientific and medical organization at ViiV Healthcare (launched in Nov 2009; ) and contributed significantly to shaping its evolving strategy and associated success.  I know from firsthand experience the technical and business aspects of building a successful company delivering medicines that meet unmet medical needs.  Through my involvement with establishment/launch of collaborations via public-private partnerships and/or business development, I understand what pharma companies expect from partnerships with biotech and/or academia.  I have also worked closely with the medical affairs and commercial/marketing organizations on numerous international, regional, and local market projects/campaigns.  I bring this breadth of experience to advance innovative approaches for R&D.

The following highlights my general skill set and experience:

R&D Innovation:

- Led and supported research programs, translational research teams, and impact(ed) the business strategy for building a forward-looking R&D pipeline; small molecule, biologic, and vaccine platforms

- Co-developed governance processes to safely expedite compound progression from discovery through clinical development

- Accountable for virology data packages included in 4 successful approvals and global launches (TIVICAY, TRIUMEQ, JULUCA, and DOVATO) and updates to inflammatory bowel disease indications for Humira

- Applying expertise to advancing preventative and therapeutic approaches for SARS-CoV-2 infection and antiviral medical countermeasures

Business Development:

- Subject matter expert for in-licensing review and advisory role informing business development strategy for pre-clinical and clinical R&D platforms/assets and diagnostics

- Member of Integration teams post deal closure

- Advisor for academic-based biotech and entrepreneurial start-ups

Strategic Partnerships:

- Defined and launched multi-year/multi-million-dollar global research collaborations with key academic institutions, including integrated analyses of laboratory generated data with longitudinal patient clinical data

- Initiated, led, or supported in vitro, pre-clinical, and clinical phase global research studies


- Scientific lead or advisor for commercial/marketing and medical affairs efforts associated with product launches and life cycle management


- Directed diagnostic collaborations associated with investigative agents or marketed products

- Provided technical advice for assays and algorithms used in clinical care across diverse geographic regions


- Written and face-to-face interactions with regulatory authorities pre- and post-market authorization

Scientific Communication:

- Explaining disease area science and medicine mechanisms of action to a broad spectrum of audiences, ranging from key opinion leaders to clinicians/scientists to patient advocates to the lay public

- Graduate and Medical Student mentoring at Duke University

- Freshman Experience Course co-creator/co-lecturer at High Point University

- UNCW OLLI and Duke OLLI invited lecturer

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