The Coronavirus has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation. However, progress is rapidly being made by scientists discover more about this virus, and how we can fight it.
Scientists are racing to create a vaccine for the new type of Coronavirus in record time.
While in previous years it has taken years, sometimes decades, to create new vaccines, research for a vaccine to help the outbreak started within hours of the virus being detected.
In fact, officials released the genetic code for the coronavirus very quickly. The information means that scientists can determine more information about the virus and how to prevent its outbreak.
The development of a vaccine is underway at an international research facility in San Diego.
Dr Kate Broderick, senior vice-president of research and development at the facility, said: “Once China had provided the DNA sequence of this virus, we were able to put it through our lab’s computer technology and design a vaccine within three hours. Our DNA medicine vaccines are novel in that they use DNA sequences from the virus to target specific parts of the pathogen which we believe the body will mount the strongest response to. We then use the patient’s own cells to become a factory for the vaccine, strengthening the body’s own natural response mechanisms.”
The research into developing this vaccine has been rapid, with scientists hoping to start human trials for it in early summer. If these are a success, larger trials will follow, ideally by the end of the year.
While it is not certain whether the designs so far will be safe and effective enough to manage the outbreak, however labs all over the world are creating new designs and learning more about the vaccine.
What is being done in the meantime?
There has been worry all over the world concerning the Coronavirus. While the rapid developments of vaccine designs is reassuring, people are still worried about the spread of the virus.
So what is being done in the meantime to prevent the spread of the virus?
China authorities have done something unprecedented and effectively put entire cities into quarantine. The province of Hubei, where the virus originated from and where nearly all deaths have occurred, is in a state of complete lockdown.
The city is sealed off from the rest of the world and there are many transport restrictions in an attempt to prevent anymore spread of the virus.
While there have recently been two cases of the virus in the UK, in two people who had recently travelled back from Wuhan (the city the virus originated from), they have been quarantined in an attempt to prevent spreading to other British nationals.
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