A gene that cured a man of HIV a decade ago has been successfully added to developing monkey embryos in an effort to study more potential treatments for the disease.
A study shows that the mutant virus is more easily transmitted and grows better within hosts, likely aiding its dominance. The mutation, researchers say, should not interfere with the effectiveness of vaccines against the virus.
Neither of the new viruses is known to infect people, but the findings reinforce the important work scientists are undertaking to study the effects of a changing environment on human and animal diseases.
Researchers believe the same approach can be applied to several other respiratory pathogens, including the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The trials center around an “antibody cocktail” called REGN-COV2, which was created by the New York-based pharmaceutical company Regeneron.
The animals are useful to researchers trying to understand SARS-CoV-2 and in the evaluation of vaccines, treatments and drugs against the disease it causes.
Researchers advise that people with symptoms avoid contact with cats, and cat owners should keep their pets indoors to limit contact with other people and animals.
Although the global surge in demand has made it more difficult in many places, WSLH’s colleagues at the university have pitched in to keep testing available in Wisconsin.
Refinement of the CoroFlu vaccine concept and testing in laboratory animal models at UW–Madison is expected to take three to six months. CoroFlu could be in human clinical trials by fall, 2020.
Within the next few weeks, an interdisciplinary team of UW scientists hopes to begin studies of 2019-nCoV to “erect more barriers to prevent this sort of thing from happening in the future.”