The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine and Tulane University are now involved in the development of a vaccine for the coronavirus.
Pathological Sciences Department Head Dr. Gus Kousoulas says developing and testing the vaccine will be a team effort in tandem with Tulane.
“Part of the idea is that we do all of the construction for the vaccine here, and then those will be transported to the Tulane Primate Research Center.”
The SVM Department of Biotech and Molecular Medicine, in particular, has a history of working with coronaviruses, particularly bovine coronavirus, or coronaviruses in cows.
Kousoulas says dozens of institutions both public and private will be working on vaccine development, but the relationship with Tulane makes LSU SVM a prime candidate for development.
“Our relationship with the Tulane National Primate Center allows us to get into a monkey model, a rhesus macaque, to be able to test this down he road much more effectively,” says Kousoulas.
The Tulane National Primate Research Center has been cleared by the CDC for coronavirus testing.
Most vaccines take years to develop, but Kousoulas says due to the pressing nature of the novel coronavirus outbreak, they may get authorization to speed up the process.
“Based on the circumstances and the necessity to have a vaccine I think the federal government can enable companies to be able to produce a vaccine like this fairly quickly,” says Kousoulas.
SVM’s work on the vaccine is part of the LSU-Tulane Center for Experimental Infectious Disease Research.