New Delhi, Feb. 1 -- With the a goal of starting clinical trials in 16 weeks, scientists around the world are racing to develop a vaccine against the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) which has spread from Wuhan City in China to at least 24 countries within a month of first being reported on December 31.

China shared the genetic code of 2019-nCoV on January 10 and since then scientists worldwide have mapped dozens of genetic sequences from the virus' strains to study how it's changing genetically as the outbreak progresses.

Scientists are leveraging existing work on vaccines against the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) coronavirus and rapid response platforms with 2019-nCoV genetic sequences inserted to speed up vaccine development.