Race for Vaccines and Anti-Viral Therapies

How close are we to a cure?

Research into a COVID-19 vaccine and antiviral therapy is still underway while the coronavirus spreads to more countries and cities everyday. What is being done in this race for a solution?

The SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) genome was successfully sequenced and submitted to GenBank on January 5, 2020 (1,2)
It has 96.2% sequence identity with the bat coronavirus RaTG13 found in Rhinolophus affinis from Yunnan Province. Therefore it is thought that the SARS-CoV-2 origin is from bats.
An alternative source, the endangered pangolin, has also been suggested as the betacoronaviruses share 90% sequence identity with SARS-CoV-2, but in addition have a receptor-binding domain with 97.4% identity to SARS-CoV-2, predicted to interact with ACE2 receptors found in human respiratory epithelium.

There is guarded optimism that a virus-based vaccine will be ready for testing in less than 20 weeks (3)

Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Viral Strategies

Further resources:

MedShr Open: COVID-19

MedShr Open Article: Emerging Therapies


1) Wu, F. et al. A new coronavirus associated with human respiratory disease in China. Nature. 10.1038/s41586-020-2008-3 (2020)

2) Yuen KS, Ye ZW, Fung SY, Chan CP, Jin DY. SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19: The most important research questions. Cell Biosci. 2020;10:40. Published 2020 Mar 16. doi:10.1186/s13578-020-00404-4

3) Shang W, Yang Y, Rao Y, Rao X. The outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia calls for viral vaccines. NPJ Vaccines. 2020;5:18. Published 2020 Mar 6. doi:10.1038/s41541-020-0170-0

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