Western University has joined the global effort to help find a vaccine for COVID-19. Their team of researchers is working to develop and test a possible solution for the virus, which has over 225,000 cases worldwide. They are also putting together a "vaccine bank" that will be ready to use if another outbreak of the coronavirus were to strike in the future. 

The team states that not only are they hoping that finding a vaccine could help with this current outbreak, but also help with other strands of the coronavirus that could arise in the future. 

According to Western University, the team has been working towards creating "ready-made" vaccines that would become available if another strain of the coronavirus broke out. 

By studying coronavirus cases in bats and other species, the team will be able to create thousands of "seed vaccines" that they would be able to use if a new outbreak arose. 

This is one of the 96 projects being funded across the country to find a cure for COVID-19, which has so far killed more than 9,000 people, according to their news release.

“An effective vaccine will have a tremendous impact on stopping the spread of the virus or alleviating the symptoms of the disease in infected individuals,” said Stephen Barr, PhD, Associate Professor at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.

The outbreak of COVID-19 isn't the first strand of the coronavirus to hit the globe. Both SARS and MERS also came from strands of the virus. 

Dr. Eric Arts, Professor and Chair Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Western, told The London Free Press that he believes another outbreak from a different kind of coronavirus is likely to happen again, which is why we need to continue studying it. 

"What we really hope is that we start learning from our mistakes," he said in the interview. 

"With SARS and with MERS, those epidemics came and they went...but we just stopped doing research on them and we stopped developing the vaccines we were working on and didn't bring them into human clinical trials." 

"This was largely related to a lack of interest by the government all over the world because those diseases appeared to be gone," he added.

Now that we are dealing with an outbreak that is affecting massive amounts of people, researchers are hoping to prepare better in the future. 

"We are in unprecedented modern times," said Arts. “We can look back in human history, and while a pandemic of this magnitude has happened before, we didn’t have the same public health infrastructure and research technology that we have now.”

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