Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses widely found in many animals such as camels, cattle, cats and bats, as well as in humans. On rare occasions, certain coronaviruses of animal origin can infect humans and then spread from person to person, as was seen with MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and more recently with SARS-CoV-2, which is responsible for “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”) the global coronavirus pandemic that started in 2019.
From a simple cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals and could eventually infect humans. Because humans have never been exposed to these animal viruses before, an infection with one of these emerging viruses could cause severe symptoms and prove lethal to vulnerable groups but not only. This has been the case with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 2.6 million people within a year after the pandemic was declared.
On March 12, 2020, Medicago announced that it had produced virus-like particles (VLPs) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 and a viable COVID-19 vaccine candidate.