Philadelphia scientists already at work on vaccine for coronavirus

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A University City lab at the Wistar Institute is part of a group working on a vaccine for the deadly strain of coronavirus that's spreading around the globe. 

Dr. David Weiner, executive vice president and director of the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center, says his team has successfully developed test vaccines for several viruses in other high profile outbreaks. 

"With each one the team that we collaborated with has gotten faster and faster, the Ebola was first that took somewhere between 15 and 18 months, the MERS was second, that took about 11 months, and Zika took about 6.5 months," Weiner said. 

He says coronavirus has similar properties to MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), so that work should be helpful now. 

The United States has begun evacuating Americans from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak. A plane carrying 240 Americans from the city has stopped in Anchorage, Alaska, on its way to California. Passengers are being re-screened for the virus.

Two airlines  British Airways and Lion Air  say they are suspending travel to and from China over concerns about the virus.