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Johnson & Johnson working on vaccine for deadly coronavirus

 

Reuters

 /  Thu, January 30, 2020  /  12:07 pm
Johnson & Johnson working on vaccine for deadly coronavirus

Passengers wear face masks to protect against the spread of the Coronavirus as they arrive on a flight from Asia at Los Angeles International Airport, California, on January 29, 2020. - A new virus that has killed more than one hundred people, infected thousands and has already reached the US could mutate and spread, China warned, as authorities urged people to steer clear of Wuhan, the city at the heart of the outbreak. (AFP/Mark Ralston)

Johnson & Johnson on Wednesday became the latest drugmaker to begin work on developing a vaccine for a new coronavirus that has already killed more than 100 people in China, as health authorities race to contain the outbreak.

J&J said its vaccine program would utilize the same technologies used to make its experimental Ebola vaccine, which is currently being administered in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

Three separate research teams backed by a global coalition set up to fight epidemic diseases last week said they will start work on developing potential vaccines against the new coronavirus.

The research will be conducted by drug developers Moderna, Inovio Pharma, and a team at the University of Queensland, Australia.

Read also: With Wuhan virus genetic code in hand, scientists begin work on a vaccine

Gilead Sciences last week said it was assessing whether its experimental Ebola treatment could be used against the coronavirus.

J&J also said it had donated its HIV drug Prezcobix to China for use in research to find a solution against the outbreak.

The United States and Japan evacuated their nationals from the quarantined city of Wuhan, while British Airways suspended flights to mainland China as deaths from a new virus leapt to 133 and a government economist predicted a huge hit to the economy.

Coronavirus infections can lead to respiratory illnesses, some of which can be severe and deadly such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

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