GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Researchers at UTMB are monitoring the recent spread of the Coronavirus, which has already sickened hundreds of people and killed 17.
The U.S. is the sixth country to report seeing the virus and last week, officials began screening passengers from central China at major airports.
"We've played a role in things like Ebola," said UTMB Health professor Dr. T.G. Ksiazek.
UTMB is home to a national lab and its researchers have seen outbreaks similar to the Coronavirus.
"With MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome), we were also similarly engaged and we hope to be involved in this one as well," said Ksiazek.
The Galveston National Laboratory is home to a powerhouse of knowledge and experience in studying, understanding and treating outbreaks of infectious diseases.
According to its website, The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) provides funding for laboratories and operations at the GNL.
"The lab's top priority is research to develop diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines to combat the most dangerous diseases in the world," states the website.
Ksiazek said UTMB researchers are preparing to possibly get involved in the fight to treat the Coronavirus, which is something many of his colleagues have done before.
He said because the virus is so new, there is no immunity to it, and hopes the lab in Galveston will have the chance to study the Coronavirus and develop a vaccine.
"We hope, particularly in the lab aspect, to get involved here in the GNL with that," he said.
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UTMB doctors in Galveston working on Coronavirus vaccine