Coronavirus has infected more than 31,000 people across 25 countries, claiming the lives of over 600.
In a breakthrough achievement towards developing a vaccine for the coronavirus, a team led by Professor SS Vasan, an Indian-origin scientist, has grown the first batch of virus outside China.
This is important for the pre-clinical studies to be conducted in the high-security lab of CSIRO in Australia.
Researchers at Melbourne’s Doherty Institute were earlier able to isolate the virus from a human sample. They shared their isolate with Vasan's team.
Talking to TOI, Professor Vasan said:
We thank our Doherty Institute colleagues who shared their isolate with us promptly. It is quicker to work with the real virus to expedite preclinical studies on the relative efficacy of the vaccine.
Vasan, who is an alumnus of BITS Pilani and IISc Bengaluru, moved to Trinity College, Oxford on A Rhodes scholarship.
He has also worked on dengue, zika and chikungunya prior to coronavirus.
It should be noted that the WHO has already declared coronavirus outbreak as a global health emergency and the scientists at CSIRO are aiming to test a vaccine for the coronavirus on humans within 16 weeks.