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UGA professor moves closer to vaccine for COVID-19, one originally intended for animals

Early tests are showing promising results in treating the coronavirus.

ATHENS, Ga. — The race is on for a vaccine for COVID-19

It turns out, one of the front-runners might be from the University of Georgia.

If you’ve ever gone out of town and boarded your dog, surely you’ve heard of “kennel cough.”

It’s when dogs sound like they’re choking.

Dr. Biao He from UGA’s College of Veterinary Medicine has been working for the last five years to develop a vaccine originally intended for animals.

But, it turns out, it might just work for humans with COVID-19.

“We’ve been working on a similar vaccine, a similar virus, for so long. We can almost just plug and play,” said He.

UGA, the largest university in Georgia, is empty. The only research allowed on campus is for COVID-19.

The vaccine, detailed in a study published in mBio, successfully promoted immunity to the disease in lab studies.

“One of the nice things about the vaccine we’re developing is that it can be produced very quickly. It can also be produced very inexpensively,” He said.

He said he hopes to begin human trials by the end of the year.

A successful vaccine is still months, if not years, away.

But He remains hopeful that the vaccine he and his team created for animals, might just help end a pandemic.

“My hope is that with a vaccine, that we are working on. It will, definitely, help us go back to normal,” said He.

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus.  We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information.

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information. 

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