Atlanta-area lab working on a coronavirus vaccine

An Atlanta area lab is working on a coronavirus vaccine.

Dr. Farshad Guirakhoo, Chief Scientific Officer at GeoVax says, " So we grow the initial viruses here."

GeoVax's Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Farshad Guirakhoo, says scientists have created three vaccine designs for COVID-19, that should be ready for animal trials in a few weeks. The outcome of those initial tests will determine which vaccine design will be used in clinical trials. 

Dr. Guirakhoo told FOX 5, "Because this is a new virus we don't know which vaccine will be effective."

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The Smyrna based pharmaceutical company began working on a novel coronavirus vaccine in January, partnering with a lab in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak.   "We want to make sure our vaccine is very safe.  So that's the idea behind having multiple candidates to assure we have an effective and very safe vaccine."

Given the rapid spread of the virus, Dr. Guirakhoo hopes a coronavirus vaccine will be available to the public in a few years, as common as a flu shot. 

"Yes exactly.  If it is going to be something seasonal.  It can be something offered by the doctor and it probably will be more effective than seasonal flu, because flu virus changes every year. But for this virus, it is possible you can make the vaccine and put it on the shelf and use it for the following years."

The World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus to have reached a pandemic level. In response, President Donald Trump announced he was suspending all travel to European counties, excluding the United Kingdom, for 30 days starting Friday. The president also announced the U.S. will defer tax payments, for some impacted filers, for 3 months amid measures to lessen the impact of the virus.

There are more than 1,000 cases of the virus confirmed in the United States.


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