Tomahawk, WI 05/13/2014 (Basicsmedia) – Try to imagine the Middle East Respiratory Virus, better known as MERS, like a really small tennis ball with sticky spikes popping out from its sides.

It is the coronavirus’s spikes which make it adept at getting stuck to human cells — and hence, a major concern when it comes to considering MERS’s potential global spread. Till now, there have been over three hundred cases confirmed worldwide. The death toll in Saudi Arabia reached 115 earlier last week.

 Novavax To The Rescue

Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ:NVAX) believes that it can use those very spikes to fight back MERS.

The biotech company, in conjunction with researchers from the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine, said that they had come up a potential vaccine which obstructed MERS infections in laboratory-based trials experiments. The design of the vaccine candidate is based upon a platform that is said to protect people from SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which is also a coronavirus.

Dr. Gregory Glenn, the Senior VP of research at Novavax said that they were essentially preventing the attachment of the virus to human cells, and that when you have an immune-based response to the virus, the virus is eradicated.

Novavax’s work on MERS was made available in the latest issue of the journal, Vaccine.

Novavax structures its vaccines by first downloading the sequenced genome of the virus they’re dealing with. They then use that code to design a vaccine to target how a virus attacks the human body.

Novavax’s Ties And Infrastructure

Glenn also mentioned that Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ:NVAX) possesses a contract with the department of Health and Human Services to build both seasonal and pandemic flu vaccines. The company has been able to design a platform for developing vaccines rapidly and they possess the capability to bring millions of doses to market, if necessary.

So whenever Glenn learns of a new virus that’s caused pandemic concerns, he immediately starts off on trying to figure out how he’d attack back. Here, in this case, this potential vaccine could be used to vaccinate camels at first, who have been associated with the spread of the illness, and eventually humans.

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