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Coronavirus vaccine may be in sight within a month as death toll mounts

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Workers disinfect a train in Lanzhou, Northwest China's Gunsu province. Xinhua

As of 6 am this morning, the death toll from the Coronavirus has increased to 82, including the first death in Beijing.

More than 2,700 cases have been confirmed in mainland China, as the Wuhan coronavirus continues to spread throughout Asia and the rest of the world.

Meanwhile respite maybe in sight soon as the Zhejiang Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention is soon expected to start research and development on a vaccine against the novel coronavirus after it managed to isolate strains for the virus on Friday.

A laboratory affiliated with the center successfully isolated two high-quality strains, paving the way for vaccine R&D and development of anti-virus medicines and rapid test kits.

Zhang Yanjun, director of the center’s Microbiological Laboratory, said on Monday that his laboratory obtained the qualification to undertake such research on Jan 22, and isolated the first strain from the sputum samples of a confirmed patient on Friday at noon.

Zhang said his laboratory is working on genome testing of the virus, and it might take some time before the new vaccine is developed as “more clinical trials are needed.”

It will take at least a month to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, said Li Lanjuan, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the news website ifeng.com reported on Monday.

Li made the comment following an announcement from the Zhejiang Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday that it has successfully acquired two virus strains from sputum samples of patients, which have provided the basis for research and development of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

Coronavirus cases outside of China has exceeded  50  in 13 countries, including at least five in the United States.

Several countries such as United States and Russia have either banned flights to China or have placed travel advisories to notices to passengers, requesting them to postpone flights to China unless it is urgent.

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