A novel coronavirus, named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. (Photo Courtesy/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

The University of Georgia’s Center for Vaccines and Immunology is collaborating with the Rhode Island-based pharmaceutical company EpiVax to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.

EpiVax has previously worked on vaccine reengineering with the Avian influenza, and a press release said EpiVax will implement their “rapid analysis and vaccine design” to the COVID-19 vaccine.

The press release said CVI Director Ted Ross’s lab has already obtained the COVID-19 virus, and they will work in a “high-security containment facility” to begin testing.

As of press time, Georgia has two patients with COVID-19, one of whom recently returned from Italy. This morning, a press release from the Office of Governor Brian Kemp stated that the Georgia Department of Public Health is waiting for a confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of a positive test for COVID-19 in Floyd County, Georgia.

The initial test was completed by the Georgia Public Health Laboratory on March 5, and CDC protocols require CDC verification before confirming the presumptive positive COVID-19 cases.

President Donald Trump is touring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta on March 6. The trip was briefly canceled after it appeared a CDC employee developed symptoms of the virus; however, test results later cleared the employee.

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