Hungary’s chief medical officer Cecília Müller announced Tuesday that researchers at the national security lab of the National Centre for Public Health (NNK) have successfully isolated the Wuhan coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Müller said in a press conference that the isolation of the pathogen, achieved by a team led by virologist Zoltán Kiss, will allow scientists to begin developing a vaccine against the coronavirus as well as testing various antiviral therapies.
The chief medical officer also said that the lab will provide live and non-live samples of the virus to both Hungarian and foreign researchers to expedite the development of a vaccine.
Hungary currently has just 58 confirmed cases of coronavirus but Müller noted that the number of those infected is expected to reach the hundreds in the coming days, in accord with NNK’s projections. At the moment, two are in a serious condition, requiring respirators.
To date, two have recovered from the disease and one has died.
Müller said that there is a sufficient number of ventilators in the country, but that more are being purchased.
Hungary’s Interior Minister Sándor Pintér was tested for the coronavirus after coming in contact with Moroccan transport minister, Abdelkader Amara, who has the virus. The test came back negative.
Müller noted that more than forty of the minister’s contacts have also tested negative.