How soon can scientists find a coronavirus vaccine?

Caitlin O'Kane

Researchers at a San Diego lab say it took them just three hours to come up with an experimental vaccine for the coronavirus — a potential weapon against the illness which has infected tens of thousands of people worldwide. Inovio Pharmaceuticals is now scrambling to test the vaccine, first in animals and then in people, and if it succeeds they hope to get it to the public as soon as possible, CBS San Diego affiliate KFMB-TV reports.

Chinese scientists released the genetic sequence for the coronavirus on January 9, and researchers at Inovio and other labs around the world immediately got to work.

"We have an algorithm which we designed, and we put the DNA sequence into our algorithm and came up with the vaccine in that short amount of time," Dr. Trevor Smith, Inovio's director of research and development, told KFMB.

"It's something we are trained to do, and the infrastructure is here and the expertise is in house," Smith said. The company has also worked on vaccines for Zika virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Ebola. 

Hospital hosts wedding for man with brain tumor

5-year-old saves sister and dog from house fire

Video shows officers taking 6-year-old girl to mental health facility