NIH working on vaccine for Chinese pneumonia outbreak

The National Institutes of Health is trying to create a vaccine to prevent infections caused by the new strain of coronavirus that has been linked to the pneumonia outbreak in China, which has sickened about 150 and killed four, according to CNN.

Anthony S. Fauci, MD, director of the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN that the first phase of the clinical trials would begin in a few months and it could take more than a year for a vaccine to be available.

The virus outbreak originated in Wuhan, China, and has since spread to other places in China as well as Thailand, South Korea and Japan. It was recently confirmed that the new virus, which originated in animals, also spreads through human transmission, and World Health Organization officials are considering whether the outbreak should be declared a global health emergency.

The new strain of coronavirus is in the same family as the virus that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, both of which have killed hundreds in the last two decades.

Dr. Fauci told CNN that there is a lot that is still unknown about the new strain, including how easily it can spread from human to human.

"Is it a continual spread? Is it sustained? We're not quite sure yet," he said.

He also said that it's "an evolving situation" and one that has to be taken very seriously.

More articles on clinical leadership and infection control:
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