Scientists Unraveling Chinese Coronavirus with Unprecedented Speed, Openness

Chinese scientists freely released the genetic sequence of a coronavirus 10 days after the first reported case, to help researchers worldwide better understand and combat the pathogen. After the disclosure, Purdue University’s Andrew Mesecar instructed his laboratory to analyze the genome, while researchers at the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories asked a company to convert the information from a string of letters on a computer screen into DNA for research. The Purdue scientists are about to scale up production of experimental anti-coronavirus drugs, while Northwestern University researchers have ordered the synthesis of about 12 viral genome segments to facilitate development of drugs, vaccines, and rapid diagnosis methods. Rocky Mountain Laboratories’ Michael Letko said, “This is one of the first times we’re getting to see an outbreak of a new virus and have the scientific community sharing their data almost in real time, rather than have to go through the classic route of going through the journals.”

More info here: The Washington Post, Carolyn Y. Johnson

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