Australian scientists start working on new virus

By Juliano Oliveira

The leader national science agency of Australia, CSIRO, has started working on an effective response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Scientists are working alongside the CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) a global group that aims to derail epidemics by speeding up the development of vaccines.

Initially, they are going to investigate how long the virus takes to develop and replicate, how it impacts the respiratory system and how it can be transmitted.

“Infectious diseases like the new coronavirus are complex and pose a major challenge to human health,” Dr Rob Grenfell Director of Health and Biosecurity at CSIRO said. 

“Through this project, we will use our globally unique scientific capability to answer key questions about how the coronavirus behaves.”

The first tests of potential vaccines developed by the team will be undertaken as soon as they have a better picture of where the virus originated and how it spreads becomes.

This joint effort, which also includes the University of Queensland, is expected to make feasible the creation of rapid response for developing and testing new vaccines, aiming to reduce development time from years to weeks. 

The work will be undertaken at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory, CSIRO’s high-containment facility in Geelong, the only Physical Containment Level 4 (PC4) lab in Australia, and one of only five in the world.