Researchers say previous work on the closely related MERS and SARS could benefit the vaccine development strategy to fight the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.The University of Michigan’s Aubree Gordon and Icahn School of Medicine’s Florian Kramer say that nucleic acid vaccine technology, which utilizes viral DNA or RNA material, might lead to a viable vaccine.Writing in an op-ed published in Live Science, the authors explain that making a vaccine involves creating a construct, such as an antigen, that the body’s immune system could use to target and attack the virus.A vaccine has to be tested in animal and human trials before it is judged safe and effective.According to the authors, scientists do not have isolated virus samples or enough antibodies for testing the vaccine, and they have not established the animal species suitable for animal trials.The vaccine development process will likely take months to complete.The authors state that better global surveillance of viruses would be important to mitigate future epidemics, as coronavirus, Zika, Ebola and influenza outbreaks have shown.They say novel vaccine technologies that could be quickly adapted to different strains are needed as part of a proactive approach to combating pathogens.

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