By Frances Wang

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The first participant in a clinical trial for a potential coronavirus vaccine will get an experimental dose.

Biotech companies all over the country are working non-stop on a vaccine and one of them is being developed right now inside a University of Miami lab.

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The pressure is mounting on developing a vaccine as the coronavirus spreads, but it’s going to take time.

“It’s a long path, there’s no question about that,” said infectious disease/vaccine specialist Dr. Natasa Strbo.

Strbo is an assistant professor at the University of Miami’s Department of Microbiology & Immunology. She’s part of a group at UM collaborating with Heat Biologics, a biotech group based in North Carolina.

“The development of really very novel vaccine approach that was developed, that was born in and raised here at the University of Miami in this lab,” she said.

The vaccine is based on a protein called ‘heat shock’ that we all already have in our bodies. It would be delivered by injection and helps our immune system better target the disease.

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“It is showing to the immune system, so that is something very important, our immune system is many times blind and cannot recognize that something entered the organism,” said Strbo.

The vaccine was originally tested for some cancers and showed promise in a clinical trial. For the coronavirus though, it’s still in the beginning phases.

Until then, Strbo says to take care of your body.

“In the way of a healthy diet, exercising, eating lots of fruits and vegetables is something our immune system likes a lot,” said Strbo.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases says it could take up a year to 18 months before a vaccine for coronavirus is widely available to the public.

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