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Notre Dame researchers develop coronavirus vaccine tracking system

The "Golden Dome" of the administration building is shown before the start of the Notre Dame/against the Purdue college football game in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

NOTRE DAME, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Scientists in more than 100 locations around the world are hoping to discover a coronavirus vaccine, but who is monitoring the developments of their research?

Researchers from the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Research Computing have developed an online tool to track the unprecedented number of groups working on a similar outcome.

Called the Vaccine Mapper, the free, interactive online tool allows users to visualize everything from where the different vaccines are being developed around the world to the pre-clinical or clinical stages of development of the vaccine candidates.

“Never has there been a time when several vaccine candidates have been worked on within months of the emergence of a new disease — let alone more than 100,” said Geoffrey Siwo, assistant research professor of biological sciences, scientific lead of Vaccine Mapper.

Notre Dame said vaccine developers could potentially identify those using similar or differing vaccine development methods as well as see the stage of development competing vaccine candidates are in.

This could assist different vaccine developers to see synergies in their approaches and learn from each other.

“The Vaccine Mapper was developed to give a global picture of the various vaccine designs being explored so that developers and funders can seek strategic collaborations, share knowledge and identify redundancies and gaps in the whole field as they all work toward a common goal — find a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine,” said Siwo.

Siwo said the mapping system provides key scientific information about the different vaccine candidates, which could influence their immunological effects, manufacturing requirements and stability.

Notre Dame said the mapper utilizes public information on coronavirus vaccines pulled from multiple resources, including the World Health Organization, the Milken Institute and the global coronavirus cases map from Johns Hopkins University.

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