ATLANTA — The race is on in labs across the globe to find a vaccine for the coronavirus.

M.G. Finn, the head of Georgia Tech’s School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, said possible vaccines are already in the works.

"I'm quite confident that effective vaccine candidates will emerge,” Finn said. “That’s not the hard part. The hard part is you have to test it.”

The testing could take months - even years.

“The fastest we will see a vaccine be ready is one to two years - probably closer to the two years mark than the one year mark,” Finn said.

“And that is remarkably fast,” he added.

Unlike in the movies, where scientists try to find the original source of the virus, Finn said they instead are able to recreate the virus using samples from sick patients.

“In essence, we try to make something that looks enough like the infectious organism so that your body reacts to it, but it doesn’t make you sick,” said Finn.

While a vaccine won’t save the day anytime soon. Finn said the best thing people can do is try to slow down the spread of the virus.

“That’s why one of the most effective things we can do to stop this virus is to practice social distancing, as we call it,” Finn said.

That social distancing is taking place at Georgia Tech and schools across the country. Friday was the last day of in-person classes for the foreseeable future across the university system and at many schools across Georgia.

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