Three separate research teams are to start work on developing potential vaccines against the new coronavirus causing a disease epidemic in China, a global coalition set up to fight diseases says.
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which is co-funding the emergency projects, said the plan was to have at least one potential vaccine in clinical trials by June.
The research will be conducted by the drug and vaccine developer Moderna working with the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the US firm Inovio Pharma, and a team at the University of Queensland, Australia.
A new coronavirus that first appeared in the Chinese city of Wuhan has killed 17 people and infected more than 600, most in China but cases have been detected as far away as the US.
Each of the three projects will test a distinct scientific approach to developing a preventative vaccine against the China virus, known as nCoV-2019.
“Our aspiration with these technologies is to bring a new pathogen from gene sequence to clinical testing in 16 weeks,” CEPI’s chief executive Richard Hatchett said.
“There are no guarantees of success, but we hope this work could provide a significant and important step forward in developing a vaccine for this disease.”