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Colorado scientists pivot to join worldwide pursuit of coronavirus vaccine

CSU research focuses on probiotics, ultraviolet light and vitamin B2

Judith Kohler, Denver Post
Allison Vilander, Assistant Professor of Microbiology Immunology and Pathology, works to develop a vaccine for the Covid-19 virus on March 31, 2020.
Courtesy John Eisele/Colorado State University

Research already underway in Colorado when the coronavirus began its brutal march across the globe may provide a head start in finding a vaccine for the virus.

Scientists at Colorado State University who were investigating the human rotavirus, feline coronavirus and possible vaccines tapping methods used to prevent the transmission of disease through blood products are now focused on the new coronavirus.

“It was very easy for us to pivot and look at that virus and understand the similarities with what we were already doing,” said Gregg Dean,head of CSU’s Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology.

Dean and his team had received a $3.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a vaccine for human rotavirus, which, like the coronavirus, targets mucous membranes. Dean, also a veterinarian, has a grant from the Morris Animal Foundation to find a vaccine for feline coronavirus.

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Researchers led by Ray Goodrich, executive director of CSU’s Infectious Disease Research Center on the Fort Collins campus, shifted their focus to COVID-19 in February. The team had been looking at developing vaccines with a process that is used to prevent the transmission of disease through plasma and other blood components during transfusions. While working in private industry, Goodrich developed a technique that applies ultraviolet light and riboflavin, or vitamin B2, to kill bacteria or viruses in the blood.

Read more via The Denver Post.


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