Researchers Try to Have Coronavirus Vaccine Ready by Early Summer

Saturday, February 1, 2020 - 11:39

A virus, simply known as "2019-nCoV", has already infected thousands of people and killed more than 100, but with technological advances and greater commitment from governments around the world, research facilities were able to spring into action fast.

Scientists at Inovio's lab in San Diego are using a relatively new type of DNA technology to develop a potential vaccine. "INO-4800" - as it's currently called - with plans for it to enter human trials by the early summer, BBC reports.

Kate Broderick, senior vice-president of research and development at Inovio, 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."

Inovio says if the initial human trials are a success, larger trials would follow, ideally in an outbreak setting in China "by the end of the year".

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