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Australian Scientists On Track To 'Gamechanger' Coronavirus Vaccine

In an extraordinary breakthrough, Australian scientists have grown coronavirus in a lab, bringing the medical world closer to creating a vaccine for the deadly infection.

It's been labelled a "gamechanger" and will help scientists accurately diagnose and investigate the virus globally.

Scientists at The Peter Doherty Institute in Melbourne say they're the first outside China to grow the coronavirus in a laboratory.

They'll now share the virus sample with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Europe, as well as a lab in Queensland that's also been working to create a vaccine.

“Having the real virus means we now have the ability to actually validate and verify all test methods,” Dr Julian Druce, Virus Identification Laboratory Head at the Doherty Institute, said in a statement on Wednesday.

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The virus was grown using a sample from an infected patient and will be used to generate an anti-body test.

This will allow the virus to be detected in patients who haven't displayed symptoms and, as a result, are unaware they're infected.

Image: Getty

The antibody test will also allow scientists to determine the true mortality rate of the coronavirus, which is now said to be between two and five percent.

The medical breakthrough comes as the federal government urges Australians to reconsider their need to travel to China and to avoid all travel to Hubei, the province where the virus originated.

People wearing masks head for Beijing Station in China. Image: AP

There are currently five confirmed cases of the virus in Australia, with dozens across the country still being tested.

The federal government are now investigating whether the virus is spread through human contact and announced on Wednesday they'd be quarantining people on Christmas Island.

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With AAP