China shared the genetic code of coronavirus for doctors to begin working on a vaccine for the deadly infection which has killed 910 people. Dr Kate Broderick has revealed it took only three hours to come up with a vaccine after receiving the code. She explained it was quicker because the infection isn’t based on a protein.
Speaking on ITV’s This Morning, Dr Broderick said: “I have to thank the Chinese authorities because without it we really couldn’t have done anything.
“Because we use a DNA vaccine we need the genetic code to be able to design the vaccine.
“As soon as we were able to receive that code we were able to start immediately designing the vaccine.
“In three hours we had a design ready and raring to go.”
Host Phillip Schofield asked: “Three hours to design a vaccine and how have you managed to do that when in the past it takes such a long time?”
Dr Broderick continued: “In the past we had more traditional vaccines which were based on proteins.
“They take in general two to three years to develop so you can see in an outbreak setting like China, two to three years isn’t going to help.”
It comes as coronavirus was declared a a “serious and imminent threat” to public health by the UK Government, as a leading expert warns the NHS may be unable to cope with an increase in the number of cases.
The move gives the Government additional powers to fight the spread of the virus. It comes as the number of confirmed cases in the UK double to eight, as the chief medical officer confirms four more patients have the deadly disease.
In a statement, Professor Chris Whitty said: “Four further patients in England have tested positive for novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the UK to eight.
“The new cases are all known contacts of a previously confirmed UK case, and the virus was passed on in France.
“Experts at Public Health England continue to work hard tracing patient contacts from the UK cases. They successfully identified these individuals and ensured the appropriate support was provided.
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“The patients have been transferred to specialist NHS centres at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and The Royal Free hospitals, and we are now using robust infection control measures to prevent further spread of the virus.
“The NHS is extremely well prepared to manage these cases and treat them, and we are working quickly to identify any further contacts these patients have had.”
This morning the health ministry announced new measures to help combat the spread of the disease, including the ability to forcibly quarantine people with coronavirus.
Patients can also be forcibly sent into isolation if they pose a threat to public health.