California-based Baidu Research is leveraging its technology to work on a COVID-19 vaccine, widely regarded as the linchpin to returning the world economy to a normal state.
The LinearDesign algorithm, developed by Baidu Research in collaboration with Oregon State University and the University of Rochester, could help “many mRNA vaccine companies to optimize their vaccine sequence designs,” said Liang Huang, distinguished scientist at Baidu USA, in a prepared statement.
For example, Moderna, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has begun human clinical trials of an mRNA vaccine for COVID-19.
Baidu said that its new LinearDesign algorithm will solve a key problem: Widespread adoption of mRNA vaccines has been limited because of the difficulties in drug development.
“We have launched an easy-to-use LinearDesign web server for public use so that biotech companies and research institutes can utilize our technology,” the company said. Baidu added that its “latest anti-pandemic research effort [is] inspired by our previous project, LinearFold.”
The company points out the importance of such research: “As one of the most effective ways to prevent diseases, a vaccine stimulates the body's immune system to recognize and fight pathogens like viruses.”
What will it take for consumers to be comfortable getting back out into the world? Surveys conducted by PYMNTS show that they overwhelmingly point to the availability of a vaccine. That comes as consumers’ concerns about dying from the disease have dramatically increased. More than two-thirds of those polled expressed serious concern about the integrity of their health during the crisis, compared to one-third a month earlier.
A PYMNTS survey from mid-April showed that more than 25 percent of consumers reported that they personally know someone who has tested positive, an increase from 7.7 percent on March 17. In other words, as the coronavirus struck, more and more people found themselves caught up in the COVID-19 pandemic.