With the coronavirus growing more deadly each day, several companies are racing to produce the first vaccine or antiviral medication to combat the spread of the virus. One company that seems to have made large strides towards finding a vaccine, is Gaithersburg-based Novavax.
The genome of the coronavirus was published last month, which opened the floodgates for potential vaccine attempts. Novavax is most notable for releasing an Ebola vaccine within 90 days of the genome being published in 2015, and they estimate they could have a similar timetable for this vaccine as well.
Dr. Gregory Glenn of Novavax recently stated “I would just say 90 days from the sequence being identified to starting the clinic — that’s the speed of light for vaccines and we’re hoping to meet something close to that, or exceed it if possible.”
Glenn says that he and the rest of Novavax have been working seven days a week, oftentimes until 3 am or later, in order to help further production of the vaccine.
“They see the disaster going on in China and spreading, and it portends a very worrisome scenario for the rest of the world. That’s what motivates everybody.”
While Novavax aims to be the first company to release the vaccine, they’re not the only one working on it. Johnson and Johnson is another major player in terms of finding the vaccine. They’ve also allocated resources in doing more research on previously tested drugs to see if they could potentially combat the coronavirus.
With an estimated 31,000 people worldwide infected by the virus and over 600 reported fatalities as of February 6th, the race to find a vaccine becomes more urgent every day.