The entire world is confused, shocked, and panicking due to the quick spread of the coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, that was first detected about three months ago.
While officials have given their recommendations and guidelines and governments have isolated the population in most countries, the medical community works hard to find a cure for it.
The World Health Organization declared a pandemic earlier this week, as it has infected over 137K people around the world and killed over 5K. Yet, around 70K people have recovered from the virus.
A group of Canadian scientists from Sunnybrook Hospital, McMaster University and the University of Toronto, are hopefully paving the way for a potential vaccine.
They successfully isolated and grown copies of the novel coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, which they believe will help the development of vaccines, treatments, and tests of the virus and lead to a better understanding of SARS-CoV-2 biology, evolution and clinical shedding.
Dr. Arinjay Banerjee, NSERC post-doctoral fellow at McMaster University, stated:
“Now that we have isolated the SARS-CoV-2 virus [the agent responsible for COVID-19], we can share this with other researchers and continue this teamwork. The more viruses that are made available in this way, the more we can learn, collaborate and share.”
Dr. Samira Mubareka, microbiologist and infectious diseases physician at Sunnybrook, stated:
“We need key tools to develop solutions to this pandemic. While the immediate response is crucial, longer-term solutions come from essential research into this novel virus.”
Scientists used samples from two Canadian COVID-19 patients to replicate the virus in a level three containment facility at the University of Toronto.
Mubareka explained that researchers can now work on potential solutions to the pandemic.
Her colleague Dr. Rob Kozak, a clinical microbiologist at Sunnybrook, explained that said that researchers from world-class institutions work together “in a grassroots way to successfully isolate the virus in just a few short weeks”, which points out that collaboration can lead to amazing things.
According to the Independent, Chinese scientists first isolated the virus, and Italian and Australian research teams have isolated and grown samples of the virus in laboratories too.
Yet, viruses continuously mutate and evolve, so there are currently several strains of the coronavirus, known as Sars-CoV-2.
Each isolation of the virus is a chance for scientists to evaluate how quickly the Sars-CoV-2 virus is mutating, and what are the results of the mutations.
Quebec-based biotech Medicago claims that it is also working towards the creation of a vaccine by producing a virus-like particle of the novel coronavirus, which will now be tested for safety and efficacy.
Eight institutes in China are also developing five approaches to inoculations to fight COVID-19, and Chinese officials believe a vaccine will be ready for emergencies and clinical trials next month.