The terror of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has gripped the entire world in a web of fear with no ultimate cure for definite cases that have been reported in the past month. With the spread of the virus, a general concern occurred among all countries. In the daily media briefing on COVID-19 by Dr.Tedros, Director General of World Health Organisation (WHO), appealed to the Governments of affected countries to take swift action.
On 27th February Thursday, in Geneva, Dr. Tedros forced light on the latest COVID-19 data, which cited, 78,630 cases in China, out of which, 2,747 deaths have been recorded. The outbreak has garnered grave attention from all countries, as 3,474 cases in 44 countries, outside China, have also been recorded, with 54 deaths. It is even more concerning, that the number of new cases registered in the rest of the world is greater than that of China’s.
Dr. Tedros warned the world to be prepared and stated, ‘No country should assume it won’t get cases; that could be a fatal mistake, quite literally. This virus does not respect borders’.
In the past few days only, Brazil, North Macedonia, Georgia, Greece, Norway, Pakistan, Finland, Sweden, and Romania, recorded their first cases of Coronavirus, which aggravates the concern even more. Dr. Tedros also noted that the virus can be contained by preventing people from getting sick in the first place, as the symptoms in 90% of cases include fever and 70% of cases reported cough.
The affected areas of Iran, Italy, and Korea may be a reason to worry about, but out of 320,000 samples tested in Guangdong, China, only 0.14 came back positive for COVID-19. Another important evidence shows the virus does not appear to have the characteristics of widespread community transmission.
To offer a ray of hope into such a grave situation, Israeli scientists might have stumbled upon a cure, which might take some time before it can be declared as the only known vaccine for Coronavirus, at the hour. Israeli Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis, has given quite some hope, assuring that, Israeli scientists are on the brink of developing the first vaccine within a few weeks.
The MIGAL scientists team has been working for four years, on the vaccine for infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) which has also been proven to be effective in preclinical trials at Veterinary Institutes through oral consumption, as to have a high level of anti-IBV antibodies.
MIGAL’s biotechnology group leader, Dr. Chen Catz stated, the research was conducted focusing on a new protein expression vector, known to form chemical soluble protein, delivering the viral antigen into mucosal tissues through the process of self-activated endocytosis, that creates antibodies to counter the virus.
The team chose Coronavirus as a model for their system to further prove the concept of their technology. Interestingly enough, researchers found high genetic similarities between poultry Coronavirus and the one affecting humans currently. The similarities of having the same infection mechanism in both cases increase the chance of acquiring a vaccine for humans as well.
Dr. Katz seems to even believe that, adjusting the system according to the new sequence might be the answer to developing the vaccine the world dearly needs. There are a few routine procedures to follow, like clinical trials, before the vaccine is sent for large-scale production. Keeping in mind the current global scenario and an urgent need of acquiring a Coronavirus vaccine, MIGAL CEO David Zigdon hopes to achieve safety approval for the vaccine within 90 days.