British scientist develops vaccine for coronavirus as infection, death toll rise
London, Feb. 5, 2020 (AltAfrica)-A British scientist is said to have made a breakthrough in developing a vaccine for the coronavirus by vastly reducing the development time.
Robin Shattock, head of mucosal infection and immunity at Imperial College London, said he has managed to cut the time to get to clinic from “two to three years to just 14 days”.
He is at the stage to start testing the vaccine on animals as early as next week, with human studies in the summer if enough funding is secured, Sky reports.
“Conventional approaches usually take at least two to three years before you even get to the clinic,” he told Sky. “And we’ve gone from that sequence to generating a candidate in the laboratory in 14 days.”
He added: “It’s not going to be too late if this becomes a pandemic and if it circulates around the world. We still don’t know much about the epidemic itself so it may wane over the summer months if it is like influenza.
“We may see a second wave come through on a global basis and if it comes a vaccine will be really important and would be in place to tackle that.”
It comes as the death toll in mainland China from the virus rose to 490, officials said early on Wednesday.
The total number of cases has increased to 24,324.