Story at a glance

  • Scientists around the world are working to develop a vaccine to curb the outbreak.
  • A new report says scientists in Australia have developed a lab-grown version of coronavirus that could help fight the spread of the illness.
  • More than 6,000 people are reportedly infected in China, with 132 deaths and 103 cured.

The chief executive of one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies says a new vaccine for the coronavirus, which has killed more than 130 people, will take at least a year to be developed. 

“The reality is, it will take over a year in my expectation to really find a new vaccine for this so, we need to really use epidemiological controls to really get this situation in a better place,” CEO of Novartis Vas Narasimhan told CNBC Wednesday. 

This comes as Chinese officials report the coronavirus has infected more than 6,000 people with 132 deaths and 103 cured, and thousands of suspected cases.

Scientists in China, the United States and Australia are working to develop a vaccine capable of stopping the spread of the virus, which was first discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan. 

Meanwhile, the chief scientific officer for Johnson & Johnson told CNBC Monday that he’s confident the company can produce a vaccine for the virus, but also estimated it would take eight to 12 months for the company to reach the human clinical trial stage. 

Researchers in Hong Kong claim they have already come up with a vaccine, but admitted animal testing could take months and human clinical trials could take “at least one year even if expedited.”

Reuters reports that a team of scientists in Australia said Wednesday they have successfully developed a lab-grown version of coronavirus, which is the first to be recreated outside of China. Researchers at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne said they would share the sample with the World Health Organization and labs around the world. It could be a breakthrough in curbing the spread of the virus. 

The number of coronavirus cases in China has surpassed the total recorded number of the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic, but the death toll at this time is much lower. 

Multiple cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in the United States, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Malaysia, Japan, Australia and France, and continues to pop up in other countries as the days pass.


Published on Jan 29, 2020