New play­ers are jump­ing in­to the scram­ble to de­vel­op a vac­cine as pan­dem­ic pan­ic spreads fast

When the CNN news crew in Wuhan caught wind of the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment’s plan to quar­an­tine the city of 11 mil­lion peo­ple, they made a run for one of the last trains out — their At­lanta col­leagues urg­ing them on. On the way to the train sta­tion, they were forced to skirt the lo­cal seafood mar­ket, where the coro­n­avirus at the heart of a brew­ing out­break may have tak­en root.

And they breath­less­ly re­port­ed every mo­ment of the ear­ly morn­ing dash.

In shut­ter­ing the city, trig­ger­ing an ex­o­dus of masked res­i­dents who caught wind of the quar­an­tine ahead of time, Chi­na sig­naled that they were pre­pared to take ex­treme ac­tions to stop the spread of a virus that has claimed 17 lives, sick­ened many more and pan­icked peo­ple around the globe.

CNN helped il­lus­trate how hard all that can be.

The ear­ly re­ac­tion in the biotech in­dus­try has been clas­sic, with small-cap com­pa­nies scram­bling to head­line ef­forts to step in fast. But there are al­so new play­ers in the field with new tech that has been in­tro­duced since the last of a se­ries of pan­dem­ic pan­ics that could change the usu­al sto­ry­lines. And they’re vol­un­teer­ing for a crash course in speed­ing up vac­cine de­vel­op­ment — a field where overnight so­lu­tions have been im­pos­si­ble to prove.

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