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A Race to the Vaccine for the Coronavirus

By Brittany Haynes on Feb 11, 2020

Editor Note: Understanding the importance of this timely topic and to ensure that research is made available to the wider academic community, IGI Global has made a sample of related articles and chapters free to access. View the end of this article to freely access this critical research.


Featured all over global news outlets, the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak has been stirring pandemic across the world. According to a recent article from Popular Science, this virus originated at an animal and seafood market in Wuhan, a central Chinese city in the Hubei Province at the end of 2019.

As explained by Prof. Maria Ines Zanoli Sato, from CETSESB, São Paulo, Brazil in her chapter “History of Infectious Diseases” from the publication Examining the Role of Environmental Change on Emerging Infectious Diseases and Pandemics, the environment has always had an impact on human health, since humans had a shorter life expectancy based on the harshness of their environment historically. Within the past week, however, scientists have made a critical scientific breakthrough which will help prevent and contain the spread of this disease.

Examining the Role of Environmental Change on Emerging Infectious Diseases and Pandemics
Edited by Prof. Maha Bouzid (University of East Anglia, UK)
Copyright: © 2017 | Pages: 327 | ISBN: 9781522505532 | EISBN: 9781522505549

This publication investigates the impact of climate change in relation to the emergence and spread of global diseases...Learn More.

The Origins and Spread of the Coronavirus

A BBC News video broke down and explained the coronavirus as well as its origins. The coronavirus is an upper respiratory infection that originates from animals and transfers to humans. The symptoms are similar to that of a cold, but it can make breathing very difficult and those infected sometimes require hospitalization. Previously, there were six known coronaviruses that scientists knew of that could infect people, and now, a seventh, the Wuhan coronavirus, has emerged. Though approximately 97% of those who are infected survive, some experts are worried it could evolve, accounting for the nearly 50 million people under quarantine where this strand originated.

According to a Business Insider article on February 4, 2020, at least 427  people have died and over 20,000 more have been infected by this virus.

Dr. Peter Daszak, President of Ecohealth Alliance, explained the virus seems to have come from a bat and that somehow bat feces made its way into people through digestion. From researching emerging diseases for over 15 years, he has found deforestation and wildlife trade contribute greatly to the spread of these diseases. Humans construct roads into forests where wildlife live and the animals residing there carry the virus which can then make contact with people; additionally, hunting and then eating wildlife at the ever-increasing rates of today is an easy way for the viruses to get into the human population.

Prof. Maria Ines Zanoli Sato further explains in her chapter that with infectious diseases, which spread between humans or from animals to humans, the transmission “may be directly affected by environmental changes.”1

Stopping the Spread: Development of a Vaccine

According to the chapter “Identification of Associations between Clinical Signs and Hosts to Monitor the Web for Detection of Animal Disease Outbreaks,” from the publication Public Health and Welfare: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications, written by Prof. Elena Arsevska from the French Agricultural Research and International Cooperation Organization (CIRAD), France, et al., delaying the reporting on a disease outbreak can delay appropriate disease measures and can propel the spread of the disease to geographical areas that were previously uninfected or unimpacted by the disease.2

Public Health and Welfare: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications
Information Resources Management Association (USA)
Copyright: © 2017 | Pages: 1,536 | ISBN: 9781522516743 | EISBN: 9781522516750

This publication provides a comprehensive overview of the latest research perspectives on public health initiatives and promotion efforts...Learn More.

An NBC News article stated there are 11 confirmed cases in the U.S.

With the intent to effectively manage the outbreak, China shared the genetic code of the virus to researchers around the world, and according to the Popular Science article previously mentioned, on January 29, 2020, scientists announced they were able to grow the Wuhan coronavirus from a patient sample in their laboratory at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne, Australia, which is the first time the virus had been grown in a lab outside of China. The ability to grow the Wuhan coronavirus in the laboratory will help develop new, quicker antibody-based diagnostic tests for infection, allow doctors to more quickly identify and treat infected patients, as well as make it easier to develop a vaccine, but there is still concern over the fact that the full process of vaccine development and having enough availability could take a year. To mitigate the spread in the short-term, scientists recommend washing hands frequently.

The New York Times reports that 475 people have recovered from this disease thus far, according to China’s Health Commission.

Many are comparing this to the SARS outbreak of 2003, which spread from China to other countries before it was contained. Approximately 8,000 were infected and nearly 800 people died from SARS during that outbreak. However, experts say not to overreact. Dr. Peter Daszak stated in the BBC News video that the current outbreak of the coronavirus will likely last a few more weeks and will infect more people, but it should not be considered a “threat to our existence on the planet.” He says, however, we should look ahead to work to prevent future pandemics.

Complimentary Related Articles and Chapters

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View All Chapters and Articles on This Topic

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of IGI Global.


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1 Sato, M. I. (2017). History of Infectious Diseases. In M. Bouzid (Ed.), Examining the Role of Environmental Change on Emerging Infectious Diseases and Pandemics (pp. 1-23). Hershey, PA: IGI Global. doi:10.4018/978-1-5225-0553-2.ch001

2 Arsevska, E., Roche, M., Hendrikx, P., Chavernac, D., Falala, S., Lancelot, R., & Dufour, B. (2017). Identification of Associations between Clinical Signs and Hosts to Monitor the Web for Detection of Animal Disease Outbreaks. In I. Management Association (Ed.), Public Health and Welfare: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications (pp. 565-586). Hershey, PA: IGI Global. doi:10.4018/978-1-5225-1674-3.ch026

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