Jefferson Vaccine Center uses existing vaccine to build one for coronavirus

CENTER CITY (WPVI) -- Laboratories around the world are working around-the-clock, developing potential vaccines against the coronavirus.

The latest entry is from the vaccine center at Thomas Jefferson University.

There have been a variety of approaches in these potential vaccines.

Some use the genetic code of the coronavirus, trying to stop the virus from reproducing.

Some try to lock onto the virus to block it from invading cells.

Jefferson researchers decided the fastest path to success is to build it onto an existing rabies vaccine that is already in production and on the market..

They call their new product Coravax.

"We actually put part of the coronavirus onto the rabies virus, so we have an established rabies virus vaccine which contains part of the coronavirus. so the idea is when you vaccinate with that, you will have immune response like you previously got against rabies, also to the coronavirus," says Matthias Schnell, director of the Jefferson Vaccine Center.

Dr. Schnell says it's a killed virus, so it won't make someone sick.

Coravax is also made to be stored on the shelf until it's reconstituted with water.

And the rabies vaccine is safe, effective, has already been rigorously tested and is being made in at least 20 manufacturing plants around the world.

Altogether, they produce 100 million doses a year.

So it would be easy to make large quantities of the new vaccine.

Jefferson hopes to begin human trials in a few months.

And the university is already in discussions with a large vaccine manufacturer about a potential partnership.
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