A team led by an Indian-origin scientist Professor S S Vasan has grown the first batch of the virus in a laboratory at Melbourne’s Doherty Institute to create a vaccine against the deadly novel coronavirus (nCov), in Australia.
This is believed to be a breakthrough in the research against the deadly disease which claimed more than 600 lives and infected 30,000 others Globally.
Researchers at Doherty Institute were able to isolate the virus from a human sample.
It was developed in a high-security lab at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s leading scientific agency.
Professor S.S. Vasan, who holds an honorary chair in Health Sciences at the University of York, is the principal investigator at CSIRO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
CSIRO’s work is of high importance as it takes a high scale to conduct preclinical trials.
“Undertaken at our secure Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) high-containment facility, our research will help to determine the characteristics of the current virus – a key step in developing a new vaccine,” a CSIRO statement said.
“The research aims to paint a clearer picture of the new coronavirus, including how long it takes to develop and replicate, how it impacts on the respiratory system and how it can be transmitted,” it added.
A Rhodes scholar at the University of Oxford, Vasan is an alumnus of Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani and Bengaluru’s Indian Institute of Science (IISc). Vasan has also worked on dengue, zika and chikungunya before nCov.
Reports said that CSIRO scientists are aiming to hit a 16-week deadline to test a vaccine for the coronavirus on humans, with any vaccine first tested on ferrets.