Researchers and scientists all over the world are racing against time to develop treatments for the global coronavirus epidemic. And it seems they are almost there as researchers at University of Queensland have met another key milestone by developing COVID-19 vaccine candidate within three weeks.
Peter Høj AC, Vice Chancellor and President Professor of UQ, states that the hard work of UQ’s scientists has finally paid off as they have shown a significant progress and quick feedback in a very short time.
The researchers have found out that the newly developed vaccine protects the immune system. As the vaccine itself is a composition of synthetic viral proteins, the next step to make this vaccine more useful is using ‘molecular clamp’, a technology that has been found to be effective in fighting against viruses such as ebola. Using molecular clamp technique leads to greater vaccine efficacy. As viral proteins have to merge with a host cell before it can be attacked by viral proteins, synthetic viral proteins prevent that from happening by not allowing it to change its shape. This process is called molecular clamp. It permits the immune system to accept the proteins to keep it safe.
Professor Høj said, “There is still extensive testing to be done to ensure that the vaccine candidate is safe and creates an effective immune response, but the technology and the dedication of these researchers mean the first hurdle has been passed.”
The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that the number of people infected with coronavirus is increasing rapidly. The coronavirus has reached more than 36 countries around the globe out of which China is on the top of the list. Currently, there is a total of 77,754 cases of coronavirus and 2,744 cases of deaths have been reported due to the COVID-19. At present, out of the infected 22% in a critical condition while 78% are mild cases.
China is running more than 80 trails to find out an effective way to treat the coronavirus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also designed some clinical trials for researchers all over the world. These trials aim to do a comparison between a couple of therapies on a scientific basis. It includes a combination of HIV drug (lopinavir and ritonavir) and remdesivir (experimental antiviral drug).
The remdesivir drug was tested by injected into an animal (rhesus macaques). The result was positive as it removed the infection.
While talking about these 80 trials, Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist at WHO, said, “Getting the clinical trials straight is a priority since if we get information on what is working and not working, we can benefit patients now.”
China is also testing stem cells obtained from the menstrual blood of coronavirus infected patients in order to find a cure.