The deadly coronavirus spreading around the world is being studied at a University of Wisconsin lab in hopes of a potential cure.
According to WKOW, first-year graduate student Nithesh Chandrasekharan, along with other biochemists, are working in a lab lead by Assistant Professor Robert Kirchdoerfer. Together they have been studying other viruses like severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respiratory syndrome.
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Robert Kirchdoerfer told WKOW that they are now beginning to shift their focus to the new coronavirus. Kirchdoerfer and his team have created synthetic coronavirus proteins to figure out the mechanism the virus uses to attack cells and come up with a way to defeat the virus. It is unlikely that the researchers will contract the virus since they are only working with small parts of the virus, according to WKOW.
A few weeks ago, scientists in China uploaded the gene sequence for the virus on the internet, and Kirchdoerfer’s team was able to use that to create their own virus and experiment on it.
Kirchdoerfer told WKOW that this information being available online accelerated the pace at which they are able to respond.
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Chandrasekharan said even if they are unable to cure this coronavirus they can hopefully predict when the next one will occur. According to WKOW, since there are so many versions of coronaviruses already, this research will be relevant for a long time.
The research team said it will take five to ten years to develop an antiviral drug, but there are already drugs in the works designed for other coronaviruses that could contain some answers, according to WKOW.
Here are some basic facts about Coronavirus: