As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, scientific experts around the world are working to develop a treatment, and a team from Ontario is helping. Researchers from Sunnybrook Hospital, the University of Toronto and McMaster have announced that they have isolated the COVID-19 viral agent. Sunnybrook states this will be an important step in creating a coronavirus vaccine in the future. 

According to Sunnybrook, the process of isolating the virus will help researchers improve their understanding of the novel coronavirus and its evolution.

In turn, it will help the world work towards effective treatments and vaccines for COVID-19.

The team says it has only taken a few weeks for them to achieve this and that they will continue to work together in attempts to learn more about the virus. 

"Researchers from these world-class institutions came together in a grassroots way to successfully isolate the virus in just a few short weeks," added Dr. Kozak, a clinical microbiologist.

"It demonstrates the amazing things that can happen when we collaborate."

However, despite the good news, researchers state that there is still a lot of work to do, but they are hopeful that they will be able to continue to grow their knowledge and help other researchers around the globe. 

"Now that we have isolated the SARS-CoV-2 virus, we can share this with other researchers and continue this teamwork," stated Dr. Banerjee, who works at McMaster University.

"The more viruses that are made available in this way, the more we can learn, collaborate, and share," he added.

Dr. Banerjee also said in a McMaster blog article, "I’d always told my friends, 'When I grow up, I want to be a guy who gets called in if there’s an outbreak.'"

"What’s happening with the outbreak is sad, but I’m glad I can contribute to the process of understanding this and controlling this outbreak."

 

Ontario researchers aren't the only ones in Canada that are studying the virus. 

A team in Saskatchewan has been working towards creating a vaccine. This week, the team had announced that the vaccine is now in the testing stages. 

However, there is currently no timeline on when this vaccine could be made available for human use. 

While researchers continue to do their work, Ontario is taking precautions to limit the spread of the virus. 

Several Ontario universities announced on March 12 that they would be cancelling classes across their campuses.

The government has also decided on to shut down all publicly funded schools in the province for two weeks after March Break due to growing COVID-19 concerns.

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