Scientists Trying Hard to Develop a Cure for Coronavirus

While Zika, Ebola and Swine Flu viruses have been rescued late, researchers hope to deliver Coronavirus vaccines sooner than anticipated to avoid them spreading.

The 2019-nCoV Coronavirus has killed 100 people so far and infected an estimated 4,000. Scientists began work on the 2019-nCoV vaccine shortly after Chinese researchers identified the CEPI database sequence of the virus.

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was founded in 2016.

CEPI Chief Executive Officer Richard Hatchett claims that it advances quicker than any previously known efforts to develop and test a new vaccine.

According to CEPI, scientists from three different entities are close to developing the vaccine for Coronavirus. Soon, manufacturers will start to conduct the clinical trials for it and production will be ramped up. On January 23, CEPI allocated $12.5 million to Moderna, Inovio, and University of Queensland.

Moderna is a US-based biotechnology company that specializes in vaccine development by converting viral sequences into messenger RNA (mRNA). Once introduced into the body, the mRNA enables the body to produce a viral protein that causes the immune system to respond as intended.

Inovio is also a US-based medical firm that started research on the 2019-nCoV within hours after it first emerged.

The biotechnology company produces vaccines made from DNA. The company has also developed a MERS vaccine which is in the phase of human trials. Inovio’s MERS vaccine produces the same protein as of Moderna’s.

Researchers at the University of Queensland are working on a 2019-nCoV vaccine that consists of viral proteins produced in cell cultures, a relatively older technology in comparison to Inovio and Moderna.

What will happen after candidate vaccines are developed?

When candidate vaccines are created, scientists will test the vaccine on animals. You decide if the vaccines are safe and the desired immune response is made.

If so, medical companies will be seeking the regulators ‘ permission to begin human studies. Human studies are conducted to assess the health and immune response of people ideally not at risk for the disease by volunteers.

Alongside human trials, scientists will also test the vaccine’s ability to protect animals vulnerable to the virus. Mice and monkeys are most likely to be administered the 2019-nCoV to determine this.

What are the implications of racing towards a vaccine?

According to Barney Grahamdeputy directorat the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the Moderna vaccine will perform better in animal testing and will be ready to enter human trials by summer.

However, previous instances where researchers rushed towards finding a solution to disease resulted in unanticipated impediments.

Despite successful clinical trials, mass production of 2019-nCoV vaccines at a rapid rate will be a huge challenge. If Moderna uses its complete manufacturing capacity to produce Coronavirus vaccines after clinical trials, it would be able to develop only 100 million doses in a year. Researchers at Queensland can produce 400,000 doses while Inovio can manufacture 100,000 doses every year, given both entities devote all their resources to the production of the Coronavirus vaccine.

Considering the rate at which Coronavirus is spreading, these numbers might prove to be insufficient to protect the entire global population. But if 2019-nCoV proves to be a seasonal respiratory disease like Influenza, which usually transmits during winters and disappears in summers, time might be on the side of the scientists working on its solution.

Via: Science Magazine

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