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Many researchers making progress on coronavirus vaccines, but fear remains on how fast reprieve comes

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The 2019 novel coronavirus continues to spread throughout the world. Since it first emerged in December, 2019-nCoV has infected more than 31,400 people, and at least 630 people have died from the illness, according to the most recent numbers from CNN. While the majority of those affected remain in mainland China, coronavirus has spread to over 25 countries and territories, infecting more than 320 people in those regions—the US itself currently has 12 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
As the outbreak heads towards possible pandemic status, scientists worldwide are on the hunt to formulate a coronavirus vaccine, with labs set up everywhere from the Philadelphia suburbs to the UK—but just how close are we to an effective vaccine becoming a reality?


Who’s currently working on a coronavirus vaccine?
Various biotech firms and scientists are currently formulating coronavirus vaccines: According to Reuters, leading British scientist Robin Shattock, head of mucosal infection and immunity at Imperial College London, will enter into the animal testing stage of one vaccine. And if proper funding is secured, he hopes to begin human studies over the summer—much faster than the average vaccine process.

“Conventional approaches usually take at least two to three years before you even get to the clinic,” he told Sky News, as reported by Reuters. “And we’ve gone from that sequence to generating a candidate in the laboratory in 14 days.”

Another vaccine, this one being formulated by Inovio Pharmaceuticals, a Philadelphia-based biotech lab, is also in the works, according to Philadelphia Magazine. The lab is reportedly using a $9 million grant to test a unique immunotherapy approach, also on an accelerated development schedule, and will have one “hopefully faster than we have with outbreaks in the past,”
Maryland-based biotech firm Novavax, who reportedly developed an Ebola vaccine in just 30 days, is also in the race. Gregory Glenn, Novavax’s president of research and development, explained to Washington, DC radio station WTOP that the company has the coronavirus gene, which is the “blueprint” for their vaccine. “We’re on the way,” he revealed. “I would just say 90 days from the sequence being identified to starting the clinic—that’s the speed of light for vaccines. We’re hoping to meet something close to that or exceed it if possible.”

Of course, those are just a few options. Slate also recently referenced another team, from the National Institutes of Health and Moderna drug company, that’s currently working on a vaccine formulation; and STAT News reported on the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which is funding four separate efforts to create a vaccine for the virus.
Maryland-based biotech firm Novavax, who reportedly developed an Ebola vaccine in just 30 days, is also in the race. Gregory Glenn, Novavax’s president of research and development, explained to Washington, DC radio station WTOP that the company has the coronavirus gene, which is the “blueprint” for their vaccine. “We’re on the way,” he revealed. “I would just say 90 days from the sequence being identified to starting the clinic—that’s the speed of light for vaccines. We’re hoping to meet something close to that or exceed it if possible.”

Of course, those are just a few options. Slate also recently referenced another team, from the National Institutes of Health and Moderna drug company, that’s currently working on a vaccine formulation; and STAT News reported on the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which is funding four separate efforts to create a vaccine for the virus.
SOURCE: health.com

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