Scientists released a series of over 34,000 letters that translated to the 2019-nCov’s molecular blueprint after the respiratory illness emerged in China. Now, researchers from around the globe immediately took hold of the letters to develop a vaccine that will control the rampant spread of the pathogen.
Now that the World Health Organization has declared a global emergency with 7,700 confirmed cases of the infection in more than a dozen countries, scientists are racing against the clock to crack the code.
Experts are hoping to create a vaccine that will be greenlighted for clinical trials in just months. This is an ambitious target for a tedious process that can take up to a decade to complete in some cases.
University of Washington’s virologist Alex Greninger spoke about the matter to The Guardian.
“Basically, we’ve gotten a lot better at doing this,” he said.
He continued: “The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) already had a diagnostic test ready by the time the first patient that they tested came in. That’s amazing, and it’s really thanks to the sharing of that initial genome.”
A recent breakthrough is expected to further speed up the process of producing the vaccine. At Melbourne, Australia’s Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, scientists were able to create a lab-grown version of the 2019-nCov.
As of Wednesday, the official death toll caused by the novel coronavirus stands at 170. Confirmed cases have been reported from 14 countries outside of China as of this writing.