HIV scientist says he won’t be expecting a coronavirus vaccine anytime soon

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(Reuters) – A leading American scientist said on Wednesday that governments should not rely on an effective COVID-19 vaccine developed soon to decide to ease restrictions on the pandemic.

FILE PHOTO: The ultrastructural morphology presented by the Novel Coronavirus 2019 (2019-nCoV), which has been identified as the cause of an epidemic of respiratory disease detected for the first time in Wuhan, China, can be seen in a published illustration by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, January 29, 2020. Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM / CDC / Document via REUTERS

William Haseltine, a breakthrough researcher in cancer, HIV / AIDS and the human genome projects, said the best approach now is to manage the disease through careful tracing of infections and strict isolation measures each once it starts to spread.

Although a COVID-19 vaccine could be developed, he said, “I would not count on it. “

Vaccines previously developed for other types of coronaviruses have failed to protect the mucous membranes of the nose where the virus usually enters the body, he said.

Even without effective treatment or vaccine, the virus can be controlled by identifying infections, finding people who have been exposed and isolating them, he said. He urged people to wear masks, wash their hands, clean surfaces and keep a distance.

He said China and some other Asian countries have used this strategy successfully, while the United States and other countries have not done enough to “forcibly isolate” everyone exposed to the virus.

China, South Korea and Taiwan have done their best to fight infections, he said, while the United States, Russia and Brazil have done the worst.

Animal testing of COVID-19 experimental vaccines may have reduced viral load in organs such as the lungs, although infections persist, he said.

For treatment, patients have received antibody-rich plasma donated by people who have recovered COVID-19, and drug manufacturers are in the process of producing refined and concentrated versions of this serum.

Known as hyperimmune globulin, these products are “where the first real treatments are going to be,” he said, predicting the success of research on monoclonal antibodies that strengthen and neutralize the ability of the virus to enter the body. human cells.

Written by Deena Beasley; Editing by Howard Goller

Our standards:Principles of the Thomson Reuters Trust.

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