La Jolla Light News Nuggets: COVID-19 research, school fundraiser, parks master plan and more

Sanford Burnham received a $10 million, four-year grant to test broad-spectrum antivirals that could treat COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases.

La Jolla News Nuggets:

$10M grant supports Sanford Burnham Prebys testing of broad-spectrum antivirals to combat COVID-19

A research team at La Jolla’s Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute has received a $10 million, four-year grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to advance its search for antivirals to treat the viruses that cause the common cold, flu and COVID-19.

Most viral infections either go untreated or are treated with drugs that target a single virus. Dr. Sumit Chanda, director of Sanford Burnham Prebys’ immunity and pathogenesis program, thinks a better approach would be to have antivirals that work against a broad swath of viruses, the same way that antibiotics work against whole categories of bacteria.

A local research institute says it has discovered 30 promising potential treatments for the COVID-19 coronavirus and aims to have them available for trial soon.

To find such drugs, Chanda’s team has spent 15 years looking for shared strategies in how viruses hijack cells and use proteins to make more copies of themselves.

“Once they get into our cells, they can live off the land,” Chanda said. “We’re trying to starve the virus out.”

He envisions two ways to do so: temporarily block the molecules that viruses hijack or rev up the body’s natural immune response. Chanda’s team will test four molecules to see how well they accomplish either goal against a variety of viruses. All of the team’s antiviral molecules will first be tested for their usefulness against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The research team at Sanford Burnham Prebys will work alongside an international team of collaborators who are also part of the grant, including scientists in Washington, Oregon, New York, South Africa and at The Scripps Research Institute. — The San Diego Union-Tribune

La Jolla Elementary School auction is on until May 20

Friends of La Jolla Elementary School is conducting an online fundraising auction of goods and services through Wednesday, May 20.

Friends of La Jolla Elementary School’s annual fundraiser this year is an online auction of goods and services from dozens of local retailers.

Gift cards, baskets, experience packages and more are up for bid at (click on “LJES Spring Gala 2020”). The auction closes Wednesday, May 20.

Proceeds from the event will go to student enrichment programs, as chosen by the Friends group with input from parents, school governance and teachers.

City collecting feedback on parks master plan

The La Jolla Parks & Beaches advisory group is collecting comments about the city of San Diego’s draft Master Parks Plan for inclusion in its formal report to the city.

The board created a working group during its April meeting to review and formulate feedback as it relates to La Jolla’s shorelines and parks. The deadline for comments is May 25. Feedback can be emailed to by Monday, May 18.

View the draft and learn more at

Methodist church opens day care for essential workers’ kids

La Jolla United Methodist Church Nursery School at 6063 La Jolla Blvd. has reopened its doors to welcome the children of local essential workers.

Child care centers are deemed essential businesses by the state and have been exempt from closure orders issued in mid-March in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Top priority will be given to parents who work in health care and emergency service sectors.

Secondary priority goes to those in food and agriculture; teachers, education staff and custodial, kitchen and other support staff; workers supporting critical infrastructure; state and local government workers; and workers in communications and information technology, energy, transportation and logistics, critical manufacturing, hazardous materials, financial services and chemical sectors.

The services will run five days per week through Friday, June 5, and have two teachers.

Changes include daily temperature checks for teachers and students, social distancing throughout the school day, increased regular washing of hands and the use of facial coverings, as appropriate. The entire school has been disinfected, and staff will further disinfect throughout the day as children leave each area.

UCSD design team wins planning challenge

A student team from UC San Diego’s urban studies and planning department submitted the winning development plan at the San Diego chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties’ 10th annual University Challenge, held virtually April 23.

The UCSD team, composed of Sable Beltran, Chris Giammanco, Xinyi Huang, Erik Mumm, Dominic Sistena and Kacie Ting, presented a development plan for a $630 million, mixed-use, 20.5-acre site in the Morena Corridor in Tecolote Village.

The winning plan, called Adante at the Bay, proposed four different residential models, an office center with lab space, a central retail-oriented promenade and a self-storage facility geared toward artists and artisans. The plan also incorporated a central music venue, wide sidewalks and acres of green space interwoven with public art.

National Charity League donates $10,000 to Feeding San Diego

The Seaside chapter of National Charity League announced a donation of $10,000 to support Feeding San Diego in its efforts to meet increased demand for food resulting from hardships caused by the COVID-19 health crisis.

NCL Seaside, a mother-daughter volunteer organization based in La Jolla, has supported Feeding San Diego since the chapter formed in 2015. Before the state’s coronavirus-driven stay-at-home order, members of NCL Seaside volunteered regularly at the Feeding San Diego warehouse preparing food for distribution.