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Mar 17, 2020

Coronavirus Update: Chief Medical Officer says coronavirus successfully isolated in laboratory of National Center for Public Health

The coronavirus has been successfully isolated in the National Safety Laboratory of the National Center for Public Health for the first time in Hungary, the Chief Medical Officer announced at the press conference of the Operational Group responsible for the containment of the coronavirus infection.

Cecília Müller stressed that this paves the way for the development of a vaccine in Hungary as well as the testing of new antiviral therapies. The pathogen was isolated under the supervision of virology specialist Zoltán Kiss; the virus will be placed at the disposal of local and foreign researchers both in live and non-live versions.

Isolation of the virus also enables researchers to better understand its functioning, Müller pointed out. She recalled that researchers at the institute have extensive experience regarding earlier forerunners of the current virus, and they have started to test an antiviral drug as well.

Chief Medical Officer Müller noted that all of Hungary’s resources and knowledge are at the disposal of the team of researchers that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán set up a few days ago.

In answer to a journalist’s question, she said it is difficult to tell when this achievement would lead to a vaccine. Researchers know the answer to this better. However, the development of a vaccine can sometimes take one to two years. And yet, this success, in and of itself, is an enormous step forward in the battle against the coronavirus.

A call center set up for advice on the coronavirus can be reached on +36-80-277-455 and +36-80-277-456 or by email koronavirus@bm.gov.hu.