Experts rush to develop coronavirus vaccine as the global concerns mount

14 February 2020

While the national death toll from Coronavirus in China nearing 1400 as of Thursday, with almost 60,000 cases in total, the experts are racing against time to develop a vaccine.

Recently the vaccine tests were conducted on mice and lab animals in search of the cure to contain the deadly coronavirus, now known as Covid-19.

 

Vaccines often require lengthy testing on thousands of people before they are allowed to be sold. But in 2002 and 2003, the SARS outbreak came and went before a vaccine could be produced. In fact, there is still no protective vaccine for SARS available.

For more on the latest development in vaccines search, MIRadio reached out to the reporter covering the Covid-19  outbreak news in Wuhan.

Reporter, CRI, Ms. Huang Yue said, "In Hubei, which is the hardest hit province, over 2097 new confirmed cases were reported on Monday and the number was the fewest in nine days.

A study led by South China Agricultural University has found that metagenome sequence of the new coronavirus strand separated from the pangolins is 99 per cent identical to that from the infected people, indicating pangolins may be the intermediate host to the virus. The research teams analyzed more than 1000 metagenome samples of the wild animals and found that pangolins are the most likely intermediate host of the virus."

The first cases of novel coronavirus infections were reported in December, and these cases were mostly related to the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province. The market was closed on Jan. 1.

another professor who participated in the study, said as the Huanan market had been disinfected following the virus outbreak, their study samples were not taken from the market, but from the existing metagenome sequences of wild animals available online or in the related databases.

“Professor of the University and the members of the research team said that previous findings say that the novel coronavirus originated in bats. But as the current outbreak started in winter, it is unlikely that people have been directly infected by bats, which are hibernating.”

Molecular biological detection revealed that the positive rate of Betacoronavirus in pangolins was 70 percent. Researchers further isolated the virus and observed its structure with an electron microscope. They found that the genome sequence of the coronavirus strain was 99 percent identical to those in infected people.

According to a report citing sources of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the vaccines targeting the novel coronavirus has been tested on animals. The vaccine samples were injected to more than 1000 mice on Sunday.”

Some 242 deaths from the new coronavirus were recorded in the Chinese province of Hubei on Wednesday - the deadliest day of the outbreak.

There was also a huge increase in the number of cases, with 14,840 people diagnosed with the virus.

Hubei has started using a broader definition to diagnose people - which accounts for most of the rise in cases.

Until Wednesday's increases, the number of people diagnosed in Hubei - where the outbreak emerged - was stabilizing.

While the world worries about the spread of the deadly coronavirus, now known as Covid-19, one would expect the major pharmaceutical firms to make millions, even billions, by rushing to develop a vaccine.

Arker Kyaw
Photo Credit - CGTN