PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — United States health experts expect the coronavirus to be around beyond this season and possibly into next year. A 15th case has been confirmed in the U.S. as the patient is quarantined in San Antonio, Texas. The patient was among a group evacuated from China.
On Thursday, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the 15th case of coronavirus in the United States as more than 60,000 cases and 1,400 deaths have been verified worldwide.
“These viruses don’t have any national origins or boundaries,” Dr. Joseph Kim said.
That’s why Kim’s team at Inovio is working feverishly to get their vaccine to market.
Kim’s company is based in nearby Plymouth Meeting and researchers have already developed a vaccine for Covid-19 — the official name of the virus.
“It took us about three hours to actually make and construct our vaccine,” Kim said.
That’s because Inovio uses special DNA technology to create its vaccines. Once the Chinese government publicly posted the genome sequence for the coronavirus on Jan. 11, his team took that data and began their work.
“We just take the DNA sequence that encodes for the virus and we can translate that to a vaccine product in a matter of hours,” Kim said.
Unlike traditional vaccine development, there is no need to use the real virus, which cuts times down dramatically.
But now, the human testing phase has to begin — which Kim hopes will start soon, both in the U.S. and China.
“That human trial will start early summer this year,” Kim said. “Inovio is working with the assumption with the worst-case scenario.”
That worst-case scenario means the potential for millions of vaccines.
Kim says his company is also working with manufacturers for quick distribution after the human testing is complete.