'It ’s a razor’s edge we’re walking': inside the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine

Around the world, more than 40 teams are working on a vaccine for Covid-19. We followed one doctor in the most urgent quest of his life. By Samanth SubramanianCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageOf the dozens of places where a coronavirus vaccine might be born, one is DIOSynVax, a small company started by a Canadian pathologist named Jonathan Heeney. In ordinary times, I ’d have visited Heeney in his office, in a stately red-brick building in Cambridge. I’d have met his team and his Aria III cytometer, which looks like as if might brew a strong, space-age espresso but which, in fact, uses its four lasers to separate cells marked with fluorescent dyes as they flo w through the machine at 10,000 cells per second. I’d have tried to wangle my way into the lab designatedcontainmentlevel 3, the highest-but-one level of biosafety security, where Heeney ’s biologists investigate pathogens such as the West Nile virus or the tuberculosis bacterium. These would be so lethal if they escaped that the lab is nearly hermetic. The joints along the walls, floor and ceiling are sealed and re-sealed; the steel panels in the walls, according to government gu idelines, have to be “of the type used in the nuclear industry”; a flow of air must constantly be forced in if the door is open, to prevent the germs inside from drifting out. I would have even seen the coronavirus vaccine candidates themselves: samples of clear liquid, held i...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - Category: Science Authors: Tags: Coronavirus outbreak Vaccines and immunisation Infectious diseases Medical research Microbiology Science World news Health Source Type: news

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