(JAMAICA OBSERVER) – A team of Canadian scientists has successfully isolated and grown copies of the novel coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, paving the way for a potential vaccine, CTV News is reporting.
According to the report, the researchers have said isolating the virus will help develop treatments, vaccines and tests for the virus, and allow them to conduct long-term research to understand the biology of COVID-19.
“We need key tools to develop solutions to this pandemic,” the CTV report quotes Dr Samira Mubareka, microbiologist and infectious diseases physician at Sunnybrook, as saying in a statement.
“While the immediate response is crucial, longer-term solutions come from essential research into this novel virus.”
The CTV report said the team, made up of scientists from Sunnybrook Hospital, McMaster University, and University of Toronto, “used samples taken from two Canadian COVID-19 patients to replicate the virus in a level-three containment facility at the University of Toronto in a matter of weeks”.
According to the report, Dr Mubareka said having access to the virus will allow researchers to start working on potential solutions to the pandemic before the outbreak peaks in Canada.
“Meanwhile, Quebec-based biotech Medicago says it has taken the first step towards a vaccine by producing a virus-like particle of the novel coronavirus, which will now undergo testing for safety and efficacy,” CTV also reported.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada is closing its borders to foreign travellers, except Americans, in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Canadian media reported that as of 9:00 am yesterday, there were 324 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 17 probable cases in the country.
Yesterday, too, Agence France Presse reported that its tally from official sources showed that at 1700 GMT the number of novel coronavirus cases globally stood at 175,530 with 7,007 deaths across 145 countries and territories.