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Researchers take step toward coronavirus vaccine with first 3D map

ITN News Editor
By ITN News Editor February 20, 2020 12:35

Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin and the National Institutes of Health released an image on Wednesday (19) of the first 3D map of part of the coronavirus, saying that it is a step toward developing a vaccine.

Scientists hailed the map as a “critical breakthrough” for fighting the virus that has killed more than 2,000 people. The image maps the “spike protein” which researchers said “is an essential step so researchers around the world can develop vaccines and antiviral drugs to combat the virus.” The map was published on Wednesday in the journal Science.

Research team leader Jason McLellan explained that the team was able to advance rapidly because of “state-fo-the-art technology” called ascryogenic electron microscopy in UT Austin’s new Sauer Laboratory for Structural Biology.

Researchers and drug companies are scrambling to develop vaccines and treatments to fight the new coronavirus that emerged in central China in December and has spread to more than two dozen countries.

There are no proven treatments for the virus and experts say it could take a year or more to have a vaccine ready. The hope is that strict quarantines in China and elsewhere will contain the virus’ spread long enough for scientists to develop tools to fight it.

ITN News Editor
By ITN News Editor February 20, 2020 12:35