Bristol scientists studying coronavirus to understand the virus

Scientists at a laboratory in Bristol are growing multiple forms of coronavirus in a bid to understand it better.

The researchers are growing the virus - including Covid-19, the strain linked to the recent outbreak - at their high containment laboratory at the University of Bristol.

The team hopes that by studying live forms of the virus it will gain a better understanding of how it spreads and how it causes sickness.

Scientist Dr Andrew Davidson said they are laying the groundwork for other researchers to develop a vaccine and test anti-viral treatments.

Dr Davidson in a lab. Credit: Good Morning Britain

We’re finding out new information all of the time but we need to know more about the spread of the virus, how it causes sickness, we need to develop diagnostics, a vaccine is essential and anti-viral treatments. All of those things, we’re working towards.

Dr Andrew Davidson

The laboratory was reportedly one of the first in the UK to start working with live forms of the virus.

Good Morning Britain reporter Richard Gaisford was given access to the site on Monday 9 March 2020. He said live samples of Covid-19 were removed prior to his visit because it was deemed “too hazardous”.

We can see if it [coronavirus] is killing cells. We will extract the genetic material from those cells and find if it is mutating, is it changing, is it making things we didn’t predict?

Dr David Matthews
Staff are hoping their work will help develop a vaccine. Credit: Good Morning Britain