Protein Sciences in Meriden Working on COVID-19 Vaccine

The work is based on past work the company did on a SARS vaccine.

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Sanofi, the parent company of Meriden-based Protein Sciences Corporation, is among the companies working to develop a Novel coronavirus vaccine.

The company said in a press release that they are basing their work on the COVID-19 vaccine on past work Protein Sciences did on SARS coronavirus.

Sanofi is looking at the work on a preclinical SARS vaccine to see if it can be advanced and adapted for COVID-19. Because of the previous research done on SARS, company officials said they will be able to produce a vaccine candidate for clinical testing relatively quickly. They are working with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.

A Sanofi spokesperson confirmed work was being done in Meriden and that they hoped to have a vaccine available for in-vitro testing within six months and potentially get to the clinic in a year to 18 months.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, SARS was first reported in Asia in February 2003 and spread to more than two dozen countries, creating a global outbreak. Like COVID-19, SARS was spread by close person-to-person contact. The CDC notes that since 2004, there have not been any reported cases of SARS anywhere in the world.

COVID-19 was first detected in Wuhan City in China in December 2019 and has now been detected in 37 locations internationally, including cases in the United States.

Experts have said even with vaccines in development, it would take around a year if not longer before they got through trials and could be offered to the public.

The following information is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Frequently Asked Questions About Coronavirus

A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

Cases of Coronavirus in the United States

There have been 14 cases of this coronavirus -- COVID-19 -- in the United States. Twelve of them were travel-related and two were spread from person to person.

How Coronavirus Spreads

This virus was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The first infections were linked to a live animal market, but the virus is now spreading from person-to-person. 

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person, according to the CDC.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet)
  • Via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects.

Symptoms of Coronavirus

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Note: The CDC believes that symptoms of COVID-19 might appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure -- based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses.

Prevention of Coronavirus

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask. CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
  • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Information from the State on Coronavirus

The state has posted information online about Coronavirus Disease 2012 - COVID-19.

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