05:43 GMT05 August 2020
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    2020 Coronavirus Outbreak (483)
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    The coronavirus scare has put health officials around the globe on high alert, leaving cities and tourist sites shut down in China as well as extra measures being taken at international airports. In Russia, two universities are working on a vaccine against the deadly illness, which has left dozens dead and over a thousand infected around the world.

    Although two Russian universities are already working on the development of a vaccine against a yet unknown type of the coronavirus, as the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor) earlier stated, the production could start in months, Director of the Institute of Medical Parasitology, Professor of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Sechenovskiy University, Alexander Lukashev has told Sputnik.

    The researcher, who heads the Institute of Medical Parasitology, Tropical and Vector-borne Diseases, explains that the technical development of a vaccine usually takes several months because one needs to create a prototype.

    “In principle, it is clear how to create medicine. For this, the virus itself is not even needed. Prototyping takes several weeks but scaling up the production and clinical testing of the vaccine usually takes months”, he says.

    According to him, nothing is hampering the development, pointing out that there are several ways to produce vaccines against this type of coronavirus. Each takes a different amount of time and varies in effectiveness and price. The scientist, who is not taking part in developing a vaccine, is sure, however, that even if it is not 100% effective, it is likely to be enough to stop the outbreak.

    “Because the vaccine is not required to protect 100%, even if it protects 90% - this will stop any epidemic”, he notes.

    Earlier, Rospotrebnadzor head Anna Popova stated that some Russian scientists are working according to one algorithm, while others have opted for a different way, adding that many countries are engaged in this process.

    How Could a Vaccine Be Created?

    As the head of the Laboratory of Genomic Engineering at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Pavel Volchkov, explains, there are several ways to develop the vaccine. One algorithm suggests that all the insides of the coronavirus are removed and new internal contents are inserted into the hollowed out virus, namely either the whole genes of a particular coronavirus or its individual parts. According to him, this is a more advantageous approach, which was used to create a vaccine against Ebola. He thinks that this approach is being used in this case, as well.

    The approach, called adenoviral, is “one of the most promising in the world”, Volchkov says. At the same time, he notes that the most effective approach is to make a virus, with the help of reverse genetics, on the basis of the 2019 coronavirus that is able to replicate only once. However, it has one major drawback – much time is needed.

    “But it will take at least a year and a half to make such a virus. This is a very long time. But it would be the most effective virus. It would be alive, once replicating and would cause the most effective immunisation”, he says.
    Topic:
    2020 Coronavirus Outbreak (483)

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