San Diego lab has coronavirus vaccine in development


This image provided by The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (orange)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (green) cultured in the lab. (NIAID-RML via AP)

SAN DIEGO (KSWB) — A lab in San Diego is taking significant steps toward developing a vaccine for the coronavirus.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, a company that’s headquartered in Pennsylvania but has a lab in Sorrento Valley, is developing a vaccine that could fight COVID-19, the epidemic that has taken more than 1,300 lives worldwide, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

FOX 5 first spoke with the company about progress on the drug’s development last month.

At the time, the company said the drug was in pre-clinical testing and was expected to be ready for human testing by the summer.

Senior Vice President of Research and Development Dr. Kate Broderick said the company was able to quickly create a formula for the vaccine once the Chinese government publicly identified the virus’ DNA sequence. “We put it into our algorithm that generates the vaccines, and in two hours we had the vaccine already designed and it went straight to manufacture,” she told FOX 5.

According to the World Health Organization, there have been roughly 63,000 cases of COVID-19 confirmed worldwide since the virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December. Two of those patients are being treated in San Diego.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals is led by President and CEO J. Joseph Kim. The company uses DNA and antigen sequencing to activate the immune system, according to the company website.

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