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Scripps Research professor says ‘this virus flunked immunology 101’ as vaccine nears

In the race against the coronavirus, we have reason to hope. A Florida scientist tells us researchers are closing in on the virus and now they know how to beat it.

Dr. Michael Farzan is a professor at Scripps Research in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology.

He says it’s a race between the virus, which is growing exponentially in your body, and your immune system. And anything that changes the balance there will change the outcome.

For us, Farzan thinks the outcome is looking good because scientists are winning their leg of the race.

He says scientists have figured out the reason the coronavirus is so deadly is the same reason it will be easy to beat.

“What I like to say is that if HIV were an absolute genius about your immune system and the flu was something like an honors student, this virus flunked immunology 101,” Farzan explained.

The virus focuses on spreading quickly instead of learning how to adapt to and overcome our immune systems, so antibodies are our heroes and hope.

Antibodies can be used in different ways to treat patients and protect others from the virus.

The final step is a vaccine where your body creates its own antibodies.

“We really do have the tools to defeat this virus,” Farzan added, “to protect our health care workers and our most vulnerable. And to ultimately protect everybody with a vaccine. And it will be frustratingly slow, but it will be inevitable.”

Once that vaccine or treatment is created, then it will have to be manufactured and distributed, which could be the slowest part.

Reporter:Veronica Marshall
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