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Indian origin scientist close to developing Coronavirus vaccine in Australia

FE Online

In a first glimmer of hope, Indian origin scientist SS Vasan and his team at Australia’s CSIRO research agency, are close to developing a vaccine for the deadly coronavirus that has claimed the lives of more than 600 people in China. A team of scientists led by Vasan has developed the first sample of the deadly virus in a high-security lab of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation CSIRO, the premier scientific research agency of Australia.

The research was undertaken at the secure Australian Animal Health Laboratory AAHL high containment facility and will help determine the characteristics of the virus which is a key step in developing a vaccine, said CSIRO in a statement. The research might find answers to some of the crucial questions about the genesis of the virus. It also aims to know how long the virus takes to develop, how it replicates and how badly it impacts the respiratory system of the humans, the CSIRO added.

The team has set a target of developing the vaccine and testing it on humans within 16 weeks and the vaccine before being tested on humans will be tested on ferrets, CSIRO further said.

A Rhodes scholar at the Oxford University, Vasan is an alumnus of Birla Institute of Technology (BITS) Pilani and the prestigious Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore. Before commencing the research on coronavirus, Vasan has also undertaken research on other fatal viruses including Zika, Chikungunya, and Dengue in the past.

After getting detected for the first time in December in China, Coronavirus has now spread to most parts of the world. More than 600 people have lost their lives in China and thousands more are feared to have come in the grip of the deadly virus. The virus is believed to have germinated in the Chinese Hubei province.