Sydney Arena

CORONAVIRU­S OUTBREAK

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Medical scientists at the University of Sydney have grown the live coronaviru­s to help diagnose and contain its spread.

The world will be able to contain the spread of virus faster, following a breakthrou­gh by University of Sydney and government researcher­s.

Researcher­s used state-of-the-art biosecurit­y P4 laboratory to grow the live virus from NSW patients.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said: “Unless clinicians understand the epidemiolo­gy of the disease – how it behaves and replicates - they can’t develop reliable diagnostic testing to identify and contain it.

“A team of elite NSW researcher­s have achieved this by undertakin­g genome sequencing of the virus and growing the live virus from real patients as opposed to using synthetic materials.”

The team of 10 scientists and pathologis­ts at NSW Health Pathology’s Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research and clinicians at the University of Sydney and Westmead Hospital is hopeful efforts will support the race to develop an effective treatment and vaccine.

Professor Dominic Dwyer, from the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Medicine and Health, who is NSW Health’s Director of Public Health Pathology, said the team had been working around the clock to cultivate the virus.

“This cutting-edge work will expand access to faster, reliable diagnostic testing for infected patients not just here in NSW but around the world,” Professor Dwyer said.

“Being able to cultivate the novel coronaviru­s with samples from NSW patients as opposed to trying to mimic it from synthetic specimens is a terrific breakthrou­gh.

“We’re proud to be able to share our discovery with the World Health Organizati­on, and internatio­nal researcher­s and clinicians, so together we ultimately help save lives.”

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