The FINANCIAL – Scientists in the United Kingdom have created a novel coronavirus vaccine that they’ve started testing on mice. The team of scientists is also aiming to be the first to start human clinical trials.
A team of British scientists believe they have become the first to start animal testing of a vaccine for the new coronavirus that has killed more than 1000 people. Researchers at Imperial College London said their ultimate goal was to have an effective and safe way of halting the SARS-like strain's spread by the end of the year, as reported by France 24.
Governments and pharmaceutical giants must urgently begin expensive and risky work developing vaccines against the COVID-19 coronavirus, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday. Big decisions" need to be taken as vaccines will require “huge investment” and the state sector "will have to take some of the risk with the private sector," Michael Ryan, emergencies director of the WHO said at a daily coronavirus outbreak briefing in Geneva, Euronews reported.
"At the moment we have just put the vaccine that we've generated from these bacteria into mice." "We're hoping that over the next few weeks we'll be able to determine the response that we can see in those mice, in their blood, their antibody response to the coronavirus." Imperial College London researcher Paul McKay told AFP in an interview on Monday, France 24.
Meantime, researchers at a San Diego lab say it took them just three hours to come up with an experimental vaccine for the coronavirus — a potential weapon against the illness which has infected tens of thousands of people worldwide. Inovio Pharmaceuticals is now scrambling to test the vaccine, first in animals and then in people, and if it succeeds they hope to get it to the public as soon as possible, CBS San Diego affiliate KFMB-TV reports. "We have an algorithm which we designed, and we put the DNA sequence into our algorithm and came up with the vaccine in that short amount of time." Scientists hope the vaccine will work like a piece of biological software, giving the human body instructions to launch a targeted attack in the form of T-cells and antibodies against the virus, according to CBS News.
Finally, if a vaccine is found to be safe and effective, it will need to pass the necessary regulatory approvals. And a cost-effective way of making the vaccine will also need to be in place before the final vaccine is ready for delivery. Each of these steps in the vaccine development pipeline faces potential challenges. There’s also the strong possibility that SARS-CoV-2 will continue to mutate. As the virus continues to infect people, it is going through something of a stabilisation, which is part of the mutation process, according to The Conversation.
New cases of coronavirus has not been reported in any new countries since February 4. In its latest update, the commission reported 121 new deaths and 5,090 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of people infected to more than 64,000 worldwide, with 63,851 of the cases in China. The death toll stands at 1,383 – with three of those deaths outside of mainland China, one in Hong Kong, one in Japan and one in the Philippines, according to The Guardian.