The Wuhan Coronavirus Is Spreading Fast. Will Doctors Be Able to Find a Treatment Before the Outbreak Ends?

Cases of a novel pneumonia-like illness that originated in Wuhan, China in December have now been confirmed in South Korea, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Macau—and, as of Jan. 21, the U.S. The virus’ geographic reach, as well as its newly discovered ability to spread via person-to-person contact, has health officials worried about the prospect of globals spread. As health officials scramble to learn more about the virus and is origins, researchers are simultaneously turning to the question of how to develop a vaccine or therapy that could help contain transmission worldwide—a feat that experts say is technically possible, but logistically more complex. The Wuhan virus belongs to the coronavirus family, a category that includes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and that typically results in respiratory illnesses. While SARS and the new coronavirus are not identical, their similarities could make it easier to “cannibalize” prior research and start developing vaccines and therapeutics on an accelerated timeline, says Ralph Baric, who researches coronaviruses at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health. Following the SARS outbreak in 2003, researchers produced a vaccine that made it to phase one human trials, which test the safety of a new drug. But the effort never progressed further, mainly due to shifting research priorities as the outbreak came to an end, says Dr. Anth...
Source: TIME: Health - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Uncategorized Infectious Disease Source Type: news

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