The Australian health authorities are now investigating four suspected cases in New South Wales, while cases in Singapore, Saudi Arabia and Japan have already been confirmed. But if the respiratory virus can kill young and healthy people it is something to worry about.
"Vaccine development will be a very expensive undertaking, but if we don't take steps now, we won't have vaccine in a tangible future", he said.
Bancel also said he planned clinical trials by the summer, adding "normally to develop traditional vaccines the same process would take two or three years".
Inovio Pharmaceuticals, USA has announced the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) has awarded Inovio a grant of up to $9 million to develop a vaccine against the recently emerged strain of coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
The best the governments could do to contain the virus spreading is by quarantining high risk people and treating those who have associated symptoms.
Molecular clamp technology enables researchers to stabilize the viral protein that is the primary target for human immune defenses.
"The technology was developed as a platform for the production of vaccines against a range of human and animal viruses and has shown promising results in the laboratory targeting influenza, Ebola, Nipah and MERS coronaviruses", said Dr. Keith Chappell from UQ's School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences said. "Our aspiration with these technologies is to bring a new pathogen from gene sequence to clinical testing in 16 weeks - which is significantly shorter than where we are now".
CEPI is a global coalition of public, private and nonprofit organizations that aim to accelerate the development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases.
"Given the rapid global spread of the nCoV 2019 virus, the world must act quickly and consistently against this disease", said Hatchett.