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Agency Taps Australia to Create a Coronavirus Vaccine With 'Unprecedented Speed'

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- USA News Group – According to the University of Queensland (UQ), the institution has been asked to develop a vaccine for the emerging Chinese coronavirus outbreak. The call comes in order to tap the University's recently developed rapid response technology.

As part of efforts to overcome new and deadly viruses, research and developments with different locations and companies may prove vital. Several companies are working to offer new treatments that may potentially influence the diagnostic and treatment options. As a result, these may produce some of the most valuable companies in this era. Leaders in biotech that may benefit from collaborations include Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX), NanoViricides, Inc. (NYSE: NNVC), and Oncolytics Biotech Inc. (NASDAQ: ONCY) (TSX: ONC).

One newcomer in this sector, Aethlon Medical, Inc., (NASDAQ:AEMD) is a medical technology company, bringing solutions to address unmet needs in health and biodefense worldwide. Aethlon Medical Inc. is developer of the patented Aethlon Hemopurifier, a clinical-stage immunotherapeutic device that removes exosomes and life-threatening viruses from the human circulatory system. Already, the device has been shown effective in wide application to combat highly infectious diseases like the Ebola virus and potentially, other emerging viruses. Aethlon is also known for its development of TauSome, an exosomal biomarker candidate to diagnose chronic traumatic encephalopathy in living individuals.

Getting Started on a Speedy Vaccine for Coronavirus

The University of Queensland says it had received a request to develop a vaccine from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). That organization is billed as an innovative partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil organizations. Its mandate is to develop vaccines to protect the world against significant outbreaks like the current corona virus emerging from China.

Professor Paul Young who heads the university's School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, is quoted as saying that that UQ has novel technology for the rapid development of vaccines, which could provide a vaccine within six months.

Young stated, "The team hopes to develop a vaccine over the next six months, which may be used to help contain this outbreak." and added "The vaccine would be distributed to first responders, helping to contain the virus from spreading around the world."

At current count, 80 people have died, and more than 2,700 reported cases of the infection have been reported by authorities. It is known that the coronavirus originated in Wuhan, a city of about 11 million and reportedly came from the city's 'street meat' market.

Looking to Head Off Deadly Viruses

There are a number of approaches where biotechnology companies are applying new technologies to detect and halt deadly viruses. This may involve multiple locations and institutions or companies combing technologies to discovering new treatments. One such case is the approach taken by Aethlon Medical Inc. The company is developing its Hemopurifier®– one of the most intriguing, patent-protected therapeutic devices in the world – unveiled in 2014.

The unique blood purification device is a first-in-class therapeutic technology receiving two FDA Breakthrough designations, through multiple therapeutic targets: viral disease and cancer.

Hemopurifier® therapy has been administered to a number of individuals infected with deadly viruses including Ebola virus, Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and the Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In the Ebola scenario, it was through a "remarkable response" to the Hemopurifier® therapy to a comatose patient (a Ugandan physician) with multiple organ failure that led to the accolades given by Time Magazine which named the device one of its 25 Best Inventions of 2014.

Pre-clinical Hemopurifier® studies have validated the broad-spectrum capture of numerous viral threats. These include Chikungunya, Dengue and West Nile virus, Vaccinia and Monkey pox, and models for human Smallpox infection. The Hemopurifier® also received the FDA's "Breakthrough Device" designation and subsequently entered the spotlight for its role of fighting cancer in cases of chemotherapy resistance, promotion of metastasis, and immune suppression.

All Hands On Deck To Fight the Spread of Coronavirus

In its public information, CEPI explained that it had already partnered with the University of Queensland earlier in January in order to develop what it calls a "molecular clamp" vaccine platform. This would enable "targeted and rapid vaccine production". Reports are that CEPI committed up to AU$15.4 million for UQ to develop the molecular clamp technology at that time. It seems certain that funding will now be put to immediate use.

CEPI is also committed to working on a number of fronts at the same time, including other organizations, and companies around the globe. CEPI also just announced it would be working with two other partners to develop a vaccine – the US based pharmaceuticals company Inovio, along with the advanced stage biotechnology firm Moderna, Inc.

All of these efforts are aimed at bringing a speedy solution to detecting and dealing with the coronavirus and other potential pandemics. It is yet unclear which approaches will prove most useful. Leading companies are moving to accelerate development of therapies and drugs that can guard from new and deadly viruses. A number of advanced companies in the biotech sector could benefit from the breakthroughs including:

Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX) together with its subsidiary, Novavax AB, a late-stage biotechnology company, focuses on the discovery, development, and commercialization of vaccines to prevent serious infectious diseases. The company announced that it has initiated development of a vaccine candidate for the Wuhan-version of the coronavirus that has spread from China to other Asian nations and was recently confirmed to have infected at least one person in the United States.

NanoViricides, Inc. (NYSE: NNVC) a nano-biopharmaceutical company, discovers, develops, and commercializes drugs for the treatment of viral infections. The company recently disclosed that it has successfully completed genetic toxicology testing required to support the IND application for NV-HHV-101 moving towards human clinical trials. NV-HHV-101 is NanoViricides' lead drug candidate with its first indication as dermal topical cream for the treatment of shingles rash.

Oncolytics Biotech Inc. (NASDAQ: ONCY) (TSX: ONC) is a biotech company developing an immuno-oncology virus (called pelareorep) being studied for potential combination with Opdivo® from Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Roche's Tecentriq, Pfizer's & Merck KGaA's Bavencio, as well as Keytruda® from Merck & Co., Inc. Oncolytics Biotech recently announced positive multiple myeloma data presented at the 61st Annual Meeting & Exposition of the American Society of Hematology. 

To better understand the current state of biotech solutions toward viral treatment, check out the report at USA News Group:

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USA News Group

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