WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)—Professor Andrew Mesecar works for Purdue University's Biochemistry Department.
He said a drug used to treat the SARS virus could be the answer in treating the coronavirus.
"We've been working on therapeutic compounds,” said Mesecar. “Basically we'd like to have a pill for it, to get rid of it."
The compounds researchers have developed over the last 16 years prevent the coronavirus from replicating.
"If it's not quite potent against the Wuhan virus, what we'll do is go back and re-engineer the drug, synthesize new versions of it to try and make it more potent,” said Mesecar.
Researchers are currently waiting for a synthesized version of the coronavirus to further their studies.
“I have colleagues that are synthesizing the entire virus, not waiting for the patient samples, so that we can actually move forward and test our compounds against live viruses," said Mesecar.
Mesecar said that medical experts are also trying to determine if the virus is transmittable before the onset of fever.
"Before fever you're not going to be transmitting,” said Mesecar.
Although a fever along with common cold symptoms could be early stages of the virus.
"That's a really important thing because if you can screen and you see somebody has these symptoms before a fever you can isolate them,” said Mesecar.
Because of technology, Mesecar said studies are advancing quicker than ever.
"We're doing things now within a matter of days and weeks that took months to years back when SARS came out."
The drug is not expected to be ready in time to help patients in the current outbreak, but it should protect the future.
Earlier today, the World Health Organization ruled that the virus is not yet a public health emergency on the international level. But the vote was split almost 50-50.