Scientists in Australia have made a medical breakthrough, which may increase the speed of finding a cure for the deadly coronavirus that has spread from Wuhan, China.

The breakthrough came in a laboratory at Melbourne’s Doherty Institute, as researchers were able to replicate the virus on Jan. 24, using a sample from an infected patient.

This is the first time the virus has been copied, and they are hoping it will quickly lead to a vaccine development to combat the virus.

“Chinese officials released the genome sequence of this novel coronavirus, which is helpful for diagnosis, however, having the real virus means we now have the ability to actually validate and verify all test methods, and compare their sensitivities and specificities—it will be a game-changer for diagnosis,”  said Royal Melbourne Hospital’s Julian Druce, the head of the virus identification laboratory at the Doherty Institute, in a statement.

 

From the replicated virus, an antibody test will be created, this will help to detect the virus in people who are not displaying any symptoms, but have been infected by the virus.

Dr. Mike Catton, deputy director of the research department at the Doherty Institute, said at a news conference on Wednesday, “The virus can be used in the assessment of the effectiveness of vaccines particularly and of medicines.”

“It also gives us the opportunity to create a first-generation antibody test, and that’s important both in the clinical management of patients who may be late in the illness … and it’s also really important for us to look at things like asymptomatic infection with the virus or mild infection that hasn’t come to the attention of health authorities, and those patients haven’t been tested and identified as cases.”

Wearing a surgical mask will not offer much protection against coronavirus infection. (ExamTalk/Flckr.com)

Catton said the replication of the virus would help to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

“An antibody test will enable us to retrospectively test suspected patients so we can gather a more accurate picture of how widespread the virus is, and consequently, among other things, the true mortality rate,” said Dr. Catton.

“It will also assist in the assessment of effectiveness of trial vaccines,” he added, reported The Australian.

The replicated virus will also be shared with other scientists in Europe who are working closely with the World Health Organization.

While official numbers indicate 6,165 people have been infected by the coronavirus, reports coming out of Wuhan from medical staff in hospitals say the numbers are far in excess of what the Communist government is admitting to.