Researchers from Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity map immune response to Wuhan coronavirus

On Tuesday, Australian researchers disclosed, they have mapped the immune responses from one of country’s first coronavirus patients in an important step that closes the gap towards developing a vaccine and treatment for the Wuhan Coronavirus.

While the bulk of those infected show only mild symptoms, nearly 20% of the patients are in critical conditions. The Wuhan coronavirus virus has a mortality rate of around 3.4%, according to WHO’s estimate.

Researchers at Australia’s Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity stated, this was an important step in understanding the Wuhan coronavirus. By examining the blood results from an unidentified woman in her 40s, they discovered that people’s immune systems respond to coronavirus in the same way it typically fights flu.

The findings have helped scientists understand why some patients recover while others develop more serious respiratory problems, the researchers said.

“People can use our methods to understand the immune responses in larger COVID-19 cohorts, and also understand what’s lacking in those who have fatal outcomes,” said Katherine Kedzierska, professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Melbourne, which took part in the research.

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the Wuhan coronavirus.

As researchers monitored the Australian patient’s immune response, they were able to accurately predict when she would recover. Although the researchers did not name the patient, they however said, she was an Australian citizen who was evacuated out of Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in China.

Australia’s Health Minister Greg Hunt described the development as “world leading” and a major development in research on the disease.

“It’s about fast-tracking a vaccine by identifying which candidates are most likely to be successful,” said Hunt. “It’s also about fast-tracking potential therapies and treatments for patients who already have coronavirus.”

At least a dozen drugmakers around the globe are studying the Wuhan coronavirus in order to create vaccines or antiviral and other treatments for the fast-spreading contagion.


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