Edit (5:15pm EST) Unfortunately, our experts have to end live answers for today. We may respond to more questions as time permits. Thanks to some of our colleagues who were able to hop on and answer your questions: Sharon Altmann, PhD, RBP, SM(NRCM), CBSP; David Yarmosh, MS; and Phil Davis, MS.

Follow MRIGlobal on Facebook for more information and visit our website and blog to find the latest updates. Media inquiries can be directed to [email protected]

Thank you to everyone for asking such great questions!


EDIT: Thank you all for the great questions! We need to take a short break and will return at 2pmCST/3pmEST to continue answering your questions!


Hello, Reddit!

MRIGlobal conducts applied scientific and engineering research impacting the health and safety of millions of people each year. Since our founding in 1944, we have earned a reputation for expertise in infectious disease, supporting our clients to predict, prevent, and control outbreaks such as Ebola and other coronaviruses like SARS and MERS.

Today, we are fighting against COVID-19 (AKA SARS-CoV-2 corona virus). We help our commercial and government stakeholders in three areas:

1) Evaluate the efficacy and safety of vaccines and therapeutics and develop diagnostic assays to detect COVID-19 in patients and in the environment.

2) Develop and share biosafety procedures and offer subject matter expertise and training to partner organizations working with SARS-CoV-2 corona virus and COVID-19 and

3) Develop and deploy flyable infectious disease biocontainment systems and mobile diagnostic laboratories that can be fielded wherever needed.

We are working with industry partners to provide cutting-edge solutions for COVID-19 in the USA and globally. Initially, our focus is developing Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) assays, followed by further testing to obtain FDA clearance for the diagnostic assays. In addition, we will evaluate the efficacy and safety of vaccines and therapeutics, including efforts to discover new antiviral candidates. Simultaneously, we are ramping up teams to support human clinical trials of medical countermeasures that are now under development. With our infectious disease expertise, we are positioned to study the virus and its transmission. As leaders in biosafety with pandemic preparedness expertise, we are sharing our knowledge with the community and businesses.

Our work makes a difference in the health outcomes of people around the globe facing the challenges of infectious disease. MRIGlobal’s subject matter experts have unsurpassed research and technical expertise. That level of scientific excellence is what every client deserves and demands. But we provide so much more: a personal relationship with our scientists who partner with our clients to find customized solutions to their specific challenges.

MRIGlobal experts responding to your questions today include:

Gene G. Olinger, Ph.D., MBA, Principal advisor Doctorate degree in microbiology and immunology with an emphasis in virology. His greatest expertise lie in area of working in BSL 1-4 biocontainment laboratories to include select agents and serving on various global health committees.

Lolly Gardiner MBA, RBP, SM (NCRM), RBP Program Manager, BS&S Global Bio Engagement Specialties

· Biological Safety and Security

· Laboratory Start-up

· Program Management

· Staff Training and Development

Dean Gray, PhD, MBA, MRIGlobal’s Defense Division Director.

Proof: Gene G. Olinger Jr., Lolly Gardiner, Dean Gray

Ask Us Anything!

More About MRIGlobal: Throughout its history, MRIGlobal’s work has had a major impact on health and safety around the world. MRIGlobal scientists and engineers revolutionized soap, studied the effect of urban smog, and designed space suits for NASA’s astronauts. We spearheaded global health initiatives to help people with Ebola, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and HIV. Our work with the federal government keeps our soldiers safer and better equipped for the dangers they face. Since 1977, MRIGlobal has managed the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the world’s premier laboratory for R&D in solar, wind, biomass, and energy systems integration. Within the Department of Energy, NREL leads all national labs in finding innovative ways for government to work with industry.

Our Website, Facebook, Twitter, Technical Resources

We will be active 03/04/2020 from 10am - 12pm CST and then again from 2pm - 4pm CST.

Shout out to our good friends at our digital marketing agency, Lifted Logic, for encouraging & facilitating this AMA!

Comments: 996 • Responses: 49  • Date: 

Chtorrr560 karma

What would you most like to tell us that no one is asking about?

MRIGlobal855 karma

It is important for the US (and the world) to be focused on preparedness. Preparing between outbreaks, rather than waiting for new ones to emerge, can be accomplished for a fraction of the cost.

The common theme we're hearing visiting with delegates on Capitol Hill is that this is transcending politics. Both parties want to find fast solutions for the purpose of helping the US and the world.

penny_eater91 karma

Can you give a few examples of preparedness in this case? Stockpiling preventative supplies like masks, gloves, sanitizers? Or PSAs for hygiene to reduce transmission rates? It just feels like theres an inevitability to this thing spreading, given that we are now seeing cases where asymptomatic people have gone totally undetected until they infect someone who develops serious symptoms. At that point limiting the spread is nearly impossible as there are certainly more asymptomatic bystanders.

Enk1ndle132 karma

Stockpiling preventative supplies like masks, gloves,

Not this. It's taking the supplies from people who actually need them like doctors, nurses and immune compromised people. They aren't doing you any real good anyways.

Sanitizers? Or PSAs for hygiene to reduce transmission rates?

Don't "stockpile" but yes, hygiene is the big thing right now. Wash your hands extra, don't touch your face, don't share drinks, etc etc.

Hautla26 karma

How big is the virus? What sort of protection does the n95 maskoffer? N95 filters effectively down to 0.3 microns I believe.

MRIGlobal120 karma

The virus has a diameter of roughly 0.12 microns. Not to worry, though! The 0.3 micron particle size is used as the standard for rating respirator filters precisely because that particle size penetrates the filter meshwork more effectively than larger or smaller particles do. An N95 will actually filter particles that are smaller or larger than 0.3 microns more effectively than it will 0.3 micron particles. It’s also important to keep in mind that single virus particles are not responsible for the transmission of this disease—the evidence currently suggests that droplets, which typically average around 50-100 microns in diameter, play a larger role in the transmission of the coronavirus. So, a properly fitted N95 would definitely be much more than 95% effective at collecting virus-containing particles

Vector338460 karma

Overall thoughts on the situation? Worse than you expected? Better?

MRIGlobal1065 karma

We have been tracking COVID-19 since the end of December '19. There is no need to panic, just prepare, wash your hands, and take care of your health.

The CDC and OSHA websites have wonderful guides for businesses, hospitals, and individuals to protect themselves from respiratory infections.

bhuvansagar457 karma

What are the reinfection chances like? Does the recent news about there being two strains of coronavirus impact your progress?

World applauds the great work you are doing.

MRIGlobal403 karma

Reinfection is unlikely with natural infection. There are two main methods of gaining immunity: one is through vaccines and the other is your body's natural response to the disease. Therapeutic treatment increases the likelihood of reinfection because it mitigates the body's immune response.

We have heard about two strains, but as far as we know, one lab in China recently reported having sufficient evidence of mutation to identify a second strain. Thus far, it seems as though news agencies are running with that sound bite more than there is significant data to support it.

That said, we would need to evaluate therapeutics and vaccines against both strains, if there indeed are two.

LunarWelshFire281 karma

Honestly, you guys are all heroes.

When working to create a vaccine, how do you know where to start? Do you work off the back of similar vaccines or start from scratch?

Edit for grammar.

MRIGlobal257 karma

Can you tell, when working to create a vaccine, how do you know where to start? Do you work off the back of similar vaccines or start from scratch?

We begin with past science and experience, using data from SARS, MERS, and other similar viruses. After this initial research, a laborious, methodical process to develop a vaccine begins. We apply old tricks to the new problem (and occasionally new tricks as well).

embarrassed420281 karma

Hi guys, thanks for your work. Two questions:

  • what is the current estimated timeline for successful deployment of a vaccine?

  • what are the chances for this particular virus to mutate and render a vaccine useless?

MRIGlobal483 karma

The US government's projected timeline for deploying a vaccine is 12-18 months. This is impressive given that most vaccines and drugs take 10 years and billions of dollars to develop.

Coronaviruses do mutate, but that wouldn't necessarily render the vaccine ineffective.

Etrius_Christophine137 karma

Follow up, is there the potential for minor yearly variations similar to influenza that would require consistent vaccinations? Or would it be similar to tetanus needing booster’s every couple of years or ten?

MRIGlobal249 karma

There is a concern that COVID-19 will be an additional seasonal concern we have to deal with. Research is ongoing to answer that question.

Cap3d242 karma

Is my dog able to catch the Coronavirus?

MRIGlobal311 karma

Overall, there is a canine coronavirus. We are not sure yet if there is a canine COVID-19 disease. Researchers are currently working to answer this question.

AnotherTooth157 karma

Hi! And thank you for the work you are doing.

I have three related questions around biosafety.

1) We are hearing various reports on contracting the virus and it’s ability to stay alive on surfaces for days. Can you tell us what you are seeing in your research?

2) Some governments are recommending masks and others are saying they are useless to stop the spread. In your experience handling the virus, what are your thoughts?

3) Since you are handling the virus and have the tools to see what may kill the virus, what do you use for disinfection? And what would you recommend to average people?

Thank you!

MRIGlobal263 karma

  1. Generally, coronaviruses can stay on surfaces for 7-9 days. There is no data yet for COVID-19 in particular. We are working on this research right now to get an exact answer.
  2. It depends what you're doing and it's always based on risk assessment. If you're healthy and just out and about in public or traveling within the US, there is little evidence that wearing a mask makes a difference to prevent disease. If you're growing the virus and working with it in large quantities in a lab, you'll need to wear a suit ala Gene in his proof photo!
  3. For disinfection, it's recommended to use 10% bleach, Lysol, or hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol. And don't forget soap and water!

Mayakalia24 karma

What about international travel?

MRIGlobal42 karma

Travel can be concerning during the Covid-19 outbreak.  The CDC and WHO have up-to-date information for travelers:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

https://www.who.int/ith/en/

Xandervdw127 karma

What are your thoughts on Corona the beer?

MRIGlobal383 karma

We think it's best with a lime

THRILLINGHER0ICS120 karma

Is it true that children are less susceptible to COVID-19 than adults?

MRIGlobal206 karma

So far, individuals under 18 years old make up less than 5% of all reported cases. It’s too early to say whether that low number is due to these individuals being less susceptible to infection entirely, or whether they’re less likely have been tested for the virus at all due to presenting with milder symptoms.

Viewfromthe31stfloor120 karma

What is your opinion on the truth of the numbers that have been made public? Does the virus seems more contagious than we’ve been told?

MRIGlobal238 karma

We trust the public numbers of tested individuals. As testing becomes more widespread, we may find more cases. This is a normal aspect of infectious disease and diagnostics.

It's still too early to tell how contagious it is, but early evidence shows that COVID-19 is somewhere in the middle of respiratory disease transmission rates. Again, hand washing reduces the transmission of diseases like the flu by 85%!

Cautemoc39 karma

Do you trust the numbers coming out of China? The trend on Reddit is to believe that they are completely fabricating all numbers and their data is useless to the international community. Is there any validity to this and/or can you give input into whether you are using that data?

MRIGlobal137 karma

China is dealing with a massive outbreak and it's always difficult to get accurate numbers during an event like this. We are currently using China's sequence data and appreciate that it was made available so early.

Poopy_Dildo114 karma

The data shows a relatively low fatality risk for those that aren't elderly or in an at risk population group. Do you believe that people in general are overreacting, and if you are a healthy person you can resume life as normal while practicing good hygiene like washing hands etc?

MRIGlobal254 karma

Absolutely! We want people to be prepared, not alarmed. Stay tuned to reliable sources, stay home when you're sick, get a thermometer to measure your temperature, and prepare for this disease like you would for any flu season. We suggest finding a good show to binge watch while you rest.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are mild to moderate in healthy adults. Many may not realize they have anything more than a cold or flu.

Twyerverse88 karma

Once the vaccine is ready how would it be rolled out to billions of people?

MRIGlobal122 karma

Great question!

In the US, the vaccine will go through pre-clinical safety and efficacy testing. Then, phase one begins when it is given to a limited number of individuals and make sure the vaccine is safe and causes no adverse reactions (this process takes about 1-2 months when expedited). For the next 4-6 months, efficacy will be closely monitored to see if the vaccine is working on the virus.

The vaccine manufacturing scale-up is just as important as these clinical trials in order to meet the demand for the vaccine. To receive the vaccine after clinical trials, people would go to health clinics, pharmacies, or family physicians.

Globally, the US government will then look at international partners who can manufacture and distribute the vaccine.

ManOfPerls78 karma

Which antiviral drugs, or antibody therapies are showing the most promise against this virus? What's a realistic time frame we can expect to see some of these drugs hit the market?

MRIGlobal80 karma

Therapeutics are still early in the development phase, and they will require a similar process to vaccine development. Blind, randomized clinical trials must be conducted. Early data is speculative and needs to be confirmed.

It's our understanding that the US Government's goal for these therapies is also 12-18 months.

mcbmusic60 karma

What would you think is more difficult to create; a vaccine or a cure?

MRIGlobal92 karma

The goal is to prevent disease. Other than taking care of yourself, vaccines are the only method of medical prevention we have. Therapeutics are good to reduce the symptoms & duration of a disease and to support critically ill patients.

Supportive care that hospitals provide can't be understated and severe symptoms should always be treated in a hospital setting.

kaydee196457 karma

How does this virus compare to other coronaviruses out there?

MRIGlobal105 karma

This link below has a really good answer, but we'll try to summarize

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2762130

SARS-2 CoV seems to be able to spread while asymptomatic, which is not seen in SARS-1 or MERS. This is definitely contributing to its ability to spread more than SARS-1 and MERS. A total of 8096 SARS cases and 774 deaths across 29 countries were reported for an overall case fatality rate (CFR) of 9.6%. MERS is still not contained and is thus far responsible for 2494 confirmed cases and 858 deaths across 27 countries for a CFR of 34.4%. Despite much higher CFRs for SARS and MERS, COVID-19 has led to more total deaths due to the large number of cases, but the deaths per infection are lower.

We, like others, have observed that the inter-example variance of this new coronavirus is much lower than previously observed species.

However, there could be some sample bias here. The amount and speed of the data being produced here is unprecedented and drawing conclusions is somewhat speculative, still.

Much like other recently emerging coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS, it appears that the new SARS-COV-2 had its origins in a bat reservoir with passage through some intermediate species that we have not yet observed. This is based on its sequence similarity to the bat coronavirus RaTG13. MRIGlobal has been using novel machine learning techniques to build models of many of the viruses that have been identified as high concern to human health, including coronaviruses. However, the diversity in bat coronaviruses observed so far is very high, and our sampling of this community is sparse. We think that this emerging pathogen highlights the need to increase data collection, data quality standards, and leveraging of new computational tools.

One_Curious_Jay44 karma

Hi all, very much appreciate the hard work and effort being on display.

My question would be whether or not you think the global response to COVID-19 has been adequate in proportion to the scale of the outbreaks taking place? We see in countries like the UK and US the advice is primarily at a level of maintaining personal hygiene, while nearby countries (Italy and France for example) face wide-spread disruptions to daily life. Should countries with lower infection rates be more proactive in order to prevent spread?

MRIGlobal49 karma

There are definitely advantages to being proactive. The key is instituting good behavioral changes within the population, properly training healthcare staff, and following guidelines for pandemic responses.

Countries that haven't been as impacted by COVID-19 have mainly benefited from good luck.

nikenotnikey42 karma

Many people are talking about the risks that antibiotic resistance will pose in the future. Do you think this risk could become greater than the COVID-19 risk that we are currently facing?

MRIGlobal122 karma

Absolutely a bigger concern. COVID-19 is obviously a big problem, but it will come and it will go. Even if it goes fully pandemic and maintains endemic nature in multiple countries, it’s overall impact on society will be dwarfed by the current trends in antibiotic resistance – see tuberculosis in India for an example of this playing out

Applejuiceinthehall41 karma

How can people sign up for the human trials to test the vaccine?

Xandervdw38 karma

Excuse my ignorance here. Couple of serious questions. If you can answer that's cool, if not, that's also fine.

If I get it once. Am I potentially less susceptible to getting it again? If I do get it again, will it be more severe than the first?

Can you Eli5 why there are currently so many positive tests returning negatives the first time (in some cases first 2 - 3 times) is it hard to test for?

What is your understanding / opinion on there being potentially 2 strands? Is this good or bad? I read it's potentially mutated into a less aggressive variant? But that also has down sides?

Why are children much less impacted?

Why does Africa seem to have low impacted? Purely low travel, or genetics / weather.

Any good podcast episodes you may have listed to recently about corona?

I'll leave it at thar for now.

MRIGlobal93 karma

Our assessment of the CDC assay is that it is robust and rigorous. Sample storage and transport could be the culprit of positive tests following negative tests. This is common with respiratory pathogens and is part of the disease process.

There is only very preliminary data on the potential of a second strain. There are thousands of coronaviruses and this data could be the result of laboratory contamination, etc. It is simply still too early to tell. Viruses tend to become less infectious over time and more transmittable.

Most people that end up in the hospital with severe complications are older and typically have co-morbidities. Until there is more epidemiological testing done, we won't know the infection rate in children. Most people will have a mild infection, much like a cold, and may never be tested for COVID-19.

In Africa, the low impact could be explained by the lack of testing available in the area for now.

For a good podcast, we recommend TWIV (This Week in Virology) and episode 43 of "This Podcast Will Kill You" about coronavirus. The Economist also has great coverage of COVID-19 globally.

throwawaydyingalone21 karma

What software and/or mathematical tools would you recommend for an undergrad interested in biotechnology/bioinformatics?

MRIGlobal45 karma

Learn Python (or any coding language, but Python has a broad user base that already tackles a lot of bioinformatics processes and it’s easier than others) and get familiar with the modules Biopython, matplotlib, pandas, numpy, and scipy. With those, you can do an awful lot of different tasks and by becoming familiar with those, you’ll learn enough to know what else you need for any given problem.

Statistical knowledge and knowledge of machine learning techniques will also help you go far as those are a large part of where any data science driven field are heading.

bllbbpt21 karma

How many flights were necessary to evacuate patients from the cruise ship with your containment system? Amazing. https://www.mriglobal.org/containerized-bio-containment-system-cbcs/

MRIGlobal40 karma

The US State Department and the CDC were responsible for these evacuations, so we don't know how many flights were necessary. We're very proud that the containment systems we designed and fabricated were used in this event. This is exactly what they're built for!

undeadeater20 karma

Is there a way that the public can donate money to help you guys?

MRIGlobal37 karma

We're so glad that you find our work interesting and worthwhile! We are very passionate about the work we do. MRIGlobal is a not-for-profit organization and (tax-deductible) donations are always welcome! Inquiries about donations can be directed to [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])

mojozojo429 karma

Does MRIGlobal have any podcasts or platforms people can follow to keep up on your progress?

MRIGlobal20 karma

We do not have a podcast on this particular event, but we do have a podcast series in production detailing our work on the Ebola eradication efforts in West Africa. Stay tuned!

To keep up with the latest at MRIGlobal, we encourage you to visit our blog! https://www.mriglobal.org/news-events/

cam09379 karma

What concerns should pregnant women have about COVID-19 and what can we to keep Mom and Baby safe?

MRIGlobal10 karma

The CDC has a page on its website about pregnancy and COVID-19! https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/pregnancy-faq.html

Rasta_Lance8 karma

China has recommended iv high doses of vitamin c for preventing and treating the virus. What do you think of this? Is there too much of an emphasis on creating new solutions instead of considering what we already have?

MRIGlobal21 karma

The clinical data for Vitamin C or Zinc is still lacking. However, studies have proven that good hygiene and keeping yourself healthy are highly effective measures for preventing disease.

jellybr3ak8 karma

Is there any chance the virus can stay dormant inside the host's cells and than return again?

MRIGlobal20 karma

No members of the virus family Coronaviridae are known to cause latent infections.

ThatDudeWithTheBeard8 karma

In your expert opinion(s), what do you think will ultimately happen to this disease? Will it be just be a single pandemic that'll eventually fizzle out for one reason or another (too few hosts, or mutation into a much less virulent strain). Or is there some possibility that it might eventually become another (albeit hopefully less lethal) seasonal resperatory disease like the cold and flu, as a number of scientists have predicted (essentially becoming the 5th seasonal disease that reaches global pandemic levels each year like influenza)?

MRIGlobal8 karma

Our best case scenario is that we'll see the disease pop up and either through interventions with medical or good hygiene practices, it will dissipate and disappear.

The concern at the moment is that it will become a seasonal disease on top of influenza that will increase the number of deaths from respiratory disease.

the_town_bike8 karma

Is it true that this is the type of virus that will mutate slightly and return every cold season? Will it become part of the regular flu vaccine?

MRIGlobal23 karma

For a virus to return every season, like you describe, it needs to be able to infect enough people that, even when it’s not “in season”, there is a minimum amount of person-to-person transmission continuing at all times. Maintaining that transmission requires the virus to mutate over time, or else eventually it runs out of susceptible people infect.

One of the goals of the massive global effort to contain SARS-coronavirus-19 that we’re seeing right now is to prevent this virus from becoming permanently established in humans. Current efforts to develop a vaccine against this virus appear to be focusing on targeting SARS-coronavirus-19 specifically, or this virus as well as SARS-coronavirus-1 and MERS.

It’s a little early yet to see whether a vaccine for SARS-coronavirus-19 would be formulated as part of a multi-component vaccine, like influenza, or if it would be produced as a single-component vaccine.

tinamaymay8 karma

Thanks for sharing your expertise!
What do businesses, large venues, etc need to do to prepare for this? What extra steps should be done to ensure safety for staff and visitors?

MRIGlobal17 karma

Extra steps to help ensure the safety of staff and visitors, whether you’re a small business or a large venue, include ensuring that you have extra supplies of hand soap, hand sanitizer, and tissues readily available and easily accessible, as well as evaluating whether your current housekeeping/facility hygiene practices should be enhanced for the near future (such as by disinfecting doorknobs daily). Large venues, or businesses with a large number of daily visitors, may want to consider whether they can establish a designated location where staff, visitors, or or event attendees who fall ill on site can be temporarily isolated until they can be transferred to an appropriate health care facility.

Businesses of all sizes should assess what plans they have in place for minimizing potential infection of employees in the workplace and for ensuring continuity of operations in the event that large numbers of staff are absent due to illness or to caregiving responsibilities. Are employees able to/allowed to work from home? Is your current sick leave policy adequate? Are your staff discouraged from going in to work when sick? What about your part time/contract staff/vendors? Are there essential operations that can be shifted to an alternate site? Is there a plan for ensuring that critical job functions and positions are covered if the primary staff performing those roles are absent?

Large venues in particular should stay abreast of their local public health authorities’ recommendations on mass gatherings, and have a strategy mapped out in advance for determining when events should be postponed or cancelled, and what actions need to be taken if an event is postponed or cancelled. For more information on large venue preparation, we think the CDC has some good recommendations posted here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/mass-gatherings-ready-for-covid-19.html

v1c1ousbyrd-8 karma

Hey guys, wondering if there’s any truth to what is being spread about the origin of it. Is it a lab made as something that was being weaponized?

MRIGlobal57 karma

Mother nature is actually significantly more creative than humans. Plus, our research suggests that COVID-19 is a naturally-emerging coronavirus.

shake23237 karma

How does the corona virus affect other viruses (like colds) floating around? Are we more/less likely to get regular-sick?

MRIGlobal19 karma

COVID-19 itself isn't going to affect other viruses. But if you're taking extra care to avoid the disease (washing your hands more, disinfecting surfaces, being cautious about large public gatherings) you'll be less likely to pick up other viruses that are circulating because of your improved hygiene.

This is a new additive pathogen for humans, so it won't compete. The good news is, good hygiene practices and self-care protects you from all of them!

calthegeek7 karma

What's the BSL of the lab? Do you really have to go through a bleach shower like they do on TV?

MRIGlobal14 karma

WHO guidance suggest BSL-2 for non-propagative diagnostic work and BSL-3 for propagative work. However, we always recommend conducting risk assessment prior to starting work.

Based on a risk assessment, we may spray down our suits when we come out of the laboratory. Enhanced BSL-3 requires showers, yet it is unnecessary here.

kiwikish6 karma

Why do you have so many owls around your building in Kansas City? A few I understand, but it's so many!

MRIGlobal37 karma

So we can send messages to/from Hogwarts

postcardmap455 karma

How does one end up working in such a field? How do you obtain samples of the virus in order to test it? Does someone physically travel to one of the infected countries (do they get the sample from another lab)?

MRIGlobal14 karma

We’ve all got our own stories for how we got here. For example, one of us started working on SARS-CoV2 by transitioning from chemistry to data science to bioinformatics and then working deeply in infectious disease and lately, RNA virus genomics.

In the old days, a sample might be carried back to the lab in someone's pocket but this is now illegal. There are strict legal requirements and procedures for packaging and shipping of biological samples using certified shippers.

Lifeisbuttadream265 karma

This is all so fascinating. I would love to learn more about your work and keep up with updates on projects you may be working on. Does MRI global have a podcast?

MRIGlobal11 karma

We do not have a podcast on this particular event, but we do have a podcast series in production detailing our work on the Ebola eradication efforts in West Africa. Stay tuned!

To keep up with the latest at MRIGlobal, we encourage you to visit our blog! https://www.mriglobal.org/news-events/

reol7x5 karma

How can a vaccine for COVID-19 be developed in 1-2 yrs time, if the typical vaccine takes 10 years?

In regards to those getting the first round of vaccine (Let's say, 2 years from now, after trials and testing are complete) With an accelerated development like this, do we risk running into unforeseen health issues 3, 5, 10 years down the road that would have been prevented by a longer vaccine development cycle?

MRIGlobal13 karma

This is an international concerted effort to achieve a goal with significant government investment. It's an extremely aggressive timeline, but we are leveraging our experience with other diseases like SARS. Furthermore, we are using 5th generation vaccine platform technology.

All therapeutics are based on a risk-to-benefit ratio. Of course, with longer trial periods there is identification of potential long-term side effects. Clinical studies will be designed to look for adverse effects early on. The FDA will hold any vaccine to its stringent standards.

abstlouis964 karma

What will the vaccine cost?

MRIGlobal17 karma

Vaccines typically run from dollars to several hundred dollars per dose. Part of the
debate on supplemental funding through US Congress is making sure a vaccine will be affordable for all.

ThirdEyeTrippyShit3 karma

What are some good ways to keep up general good health other than the obvious. Things such as diet? Would you reccomend sorta healthy young adults who vape and smoke to stop?

MRIGlobal5 karma

A well-balanced and nutritional diet will help maintain a stronger immune system and is always a good idea. Smoking and/or Vaping both damage the lungs and will put anyone at greater risk. Especially since those are preventable.

Deitaphobia3 karma

Why is no one concerned about Covids 1-18?

MRIGlobal4 karma

The number 19 is based on the year it emerged (November-December 2019), there is nothing sequential about the name. The original SARS & MERS could have been assigned numbers too, but they emerged before the current disease naming conventions were established. Technically, the virus responsible for SARS is named SARS-CoV-1 and the virus responsible for COVID-19 is SARS-CoV-2.

--ghoulisto3 karma

What is the major difference between testing for the coronavirus and testing for the flu? Much appreciated

MRIGlobal7 karma

The laboratory procedures will be similar, but a COVID-19 test cannot detect influenza and vice-versa. Both tests may require a nose swab, but you're more likely to have your sputum tested for COVID-19.

SgtReefKief1 karma

What basic preparing steps should I take living in one of the busiest areas of the US?

MRIGlobal2 karma

The CDC and OSHA websites have wonderful guides for businesses, hospitals, and individuals to protect themselves from respiratory infections.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fpreparing-individuals-communities.html

schweetzziez-4 karma

Are there any side effects of the vaccine?

MRIGlobal5 karma

All vaccines and therapeutics have side effects. Some of these are perceived and some of them are real.

General side effects of vaccines include tenderness at the injection site, low fever (which means your immune response is working!), rash, and general fatigue.

Keep in mind there is not yet a vaccine for COVID-19. The goal is to use technological approaches that reduce adverse effects (which are monitored as part of the process all vaccines and drugs during aftermarket review).