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Years of research laid groundwork for speedy COVID-19 shots

How could scientists race out COVID-19 vaccines so fast without cutting corners? A head start helped — over a decade of behind-the-scenes research that had new vaccine technology poised for a challenge just as the coronavirus erupted.

But long before COVID-19 was on the radar, the groundwork was laid in large part by two different streams of research, one at the NIH and the other at the University of Pennsylvania — and because scientists had learned a bit about other coronaviruses from prior SARS and MERS outbreaks.