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Ohio State Has Long Studied Coronavirus, Says 'Not To Panic'

Researcher Scott Kenney has been studying a cousin of the most recent coronavirus.
Ohio State University
Researcher Scott Kenney has been studying a cousin of the most recent coronavirus.

For decades, Ohio State University researchers have been studying different strains of the coronavirus and were not surprised there was another outbreak.

Assistant Professor Scott Kenney, with the College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences, published a paper last month on a different form of the virus and how it can spread among chickens.

He says once a decade, we see a major crossover of the coronavirus to humans. Kenney says it's happened three times in the last 30 years, including SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome).

He says scientists have to be vigilant in monitoring the coronavirus strains before they become a health emergency. Kenney says given time, the various forms may mutate into a virulent form.

But he encourages people not to panic and anticipates in about four months researchers will develop a vaccine for this most recent outbreak. "If this does become a global problem we'll have something similar to - I don't want to say the flu vaccine - but you'll have a vaccine that everyone can get and be protected against these coronaviruses."

However, like the flu shot, he says it won't protect against all strains.

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With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.