Coronavirus exploded into the world from China this month, with more than 3,000 detected in the country in a matter of weeks. The never-before-seen disease, named 2019-nCoV, has acquired airborne transmission and could soon spread more comprehensively through the world.
Is there a vaccine for coronavirus?
Health officials have never encountered 2019-nCoV before, and they are still gathering information on the disease today.
The World Health Organisation has stopped short of calling a global health emergency, but cases have now spread to epidemic proportions, and health services around the planet are on alert.
As part of the push to prevent 2019-nCoV’s passage around the world, researchers have been hard at work developing a vaccine.
READ MORE: Man Utd could complete transfer for striker because of coronavirus
Coronavirus cure: Is there a vaccine for coronavirus? Scientists in major RACE for cure
Coronavirus cure: Doctors have never encountered 2019-nCoV before
International researchers began the search for a vaccine soon after authorities identified 2019-nCoV.
The first step in synthesising a potential jab was to identify its genetic code.
Chinese health authorities released the code soon after cases began to multiply, allowing scientists to identify where it came from and how it might mutate in the future.
Thanks to funding and technological advancement, researchers quickly sprang into action.
Coronavirus cure: Scientists are now working on a vaccine for coronavirus
One lab, Pennsylvania-based Inovio, managed to design a potential vaccine for the disease within hours of receiving the genetic code.
Kate Broderick, senior vice-president of research and development at the lab, said the vaccine would allow people’s cells to become a “factory” for the vaccine.
She said: “Once China had provided the DNA sequence of this virus, we were able to put it through our lab’s computer technology and design a vaccine within three hours.
“Our DNA medicine vaccines are novel in that they use DNA sequences from the virus to target specific parts of the pathogen which we believe the body will mount the strongest response to.”
Coronavirus: London is the city most at risk of outbreak in Europe – ANALYSIS
Coronavirus Patient Zero: Why Wuhan market may not be virus’ epicentre – ANALYSIS
Coronavirus humiliation: India forced into embarrassing U-turn – INSIGHT
Coronavirus cure: All the places 2019-nCoV has spread so far
“We then use the patient’s own cells to become a factory for the vaccine, strengthening the body’s own natural response mechanisms.”
While the vaccine is in development, it could be a long time before health officials can use it.
Inovio must perform a series of trials before the vaccine debuts, meaning it may not be ready until the end of 2020.
Authorities are worried the virus could spread more quickly than previously thought.
The coronavirus has now reached a total of 13 countries, in part due to how it presents.
According to experts, 2019-CoV is contagious for two weeks before symptoms appear, while incubates in the human body.
The discovery means the virus may escape detection at airport screenings, allowing it to easily spread further afield.
Dr Robin Thompson, a junior research fellow in biological sciences at Oxford University, said the virus has already spread quicker than China’s deadly SARs outbreak nearly 20 years ago.