The world is now racing against time to find and develop a coronavirus vaccine that can stop COVID-19 in its tracks. Now experts from the Center for Vaccine Research at the University of Pittsburgh are testing out a new experimental vaccine that was developed from an existing measles vaccine.
A New Vaccine in the Making?
According to KDKA, the scientists modified the measles vaccine by attaching the genetic material of the novel coronavirus to the modified vaccine, which had been in use for years.
The director of the CVR at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Paul Duprex, Ph.D., explained why their work is vital in today's world amid the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Duprex, we do not have enough drugs that can fight viruses compared to medicines that we have against bacteria, but bacteria and viruses are very different, and unfortunately, many people believe that antibiotics will work on viruses, but they don't.
Modifying a Measles Vaccine
The scientists, headed by Duprex, received a small sample of the novel coronavirus from the CDC last month, which they were able to multiply.
These virus particles are what scientists used to study COVID-19 and research for cures and treatments that can help stop the coronavirus pandemic.
After modifying the measles vaccine, the researchers will proceed to test it on animals, and if that proves to be successful, they will move forward with clinical trials on humans. But whether it is successful or not, it may still take around 18 months before the vaccine can be developed and distributed to the world, as reported by BGR.
Nevertheless, the researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are encouraging social distancing and lying low while they are working their best to bring a cure to the world.
Singaporean Scientists Have Found a Way to Fast-Track Vaccine Trials
Meanwhile, scientists in Singapore are also doing their share to speed up the coronavirus vaccine.
According to a report by Reuters, the Singaporean scientists have found a way to track genetic changes that could speed testing for the COVID-19 vaccines that are now in various phases of clinical trials.
The researchers at the city-state's Duke-NUS Medical School say their technique allows them to evaluate potential vaccines within days. The vaccines are provided by Arcturus Therapeutics, an American company that has partnered with them for the trials.
Their technique fast-tracks the process compared to the months it usually takes for testing based on human responses.
"You can know from the way the genes change - what genes are turned on, what is turned off," said the deputy director of the institute's emerging infectious disease program, Ooi Eng Eong.
No Known Cures
There are currently no cures or vaccines against the coronavirus, a highly infectious virus that brings COVID-19.
However, several medicines are being touted as probable coronavirus cure, including a former Ebola, HIV, and malaria treatment, but they are still under clinical trials and can only be given for compassion use in the US.
As of writing, there are already over 395,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases around the world, with over 17,000 deaths, based on the data from Worldometer.
The virus is believed to have originated from Wuhan, China.