State media Xinhua reported on Tuesday that China has approved early-stage human tests for two coronavirus vaccines.
Fearing a second wave of Covid-19, Chinese government gave the green signal for two experimental coronavirus vaccines.
Both vaccines are being developed by a Beijing-based unit of Nasdaq-listed Sinovac Biotech, and by the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, an affiliate of state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group.
As a reminder, in March, China approved for another clinical trial for a coronavirus vaccine candidate developed by military-backed China’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences and HK-listed biotech firm CanSino Bio, shortly after US drug developer Moderna said it had begun human tests for their vaccine with the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
“Our global connectedness means the risk of re-introduction and resurgence of Covid-19 will continue,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing from Geneva, stressing that “ultimately, the development and delivery of a safe and effective vaccine will be needed to fully interrupt transmission.”
Al Jazeera’s Sarah Clarke, reporting from Hong Kong, said China’s National Health Commission also confirmed the trials will go ahead.
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“We can confirm now that three particular vaccines are being tested in China, and the National Health Commission has said it will have to clear a number of conditions before they can enable mass production of the vaccines globally,” said Clarke.
The first approved vaccine in China has started its second phase of the trial, Clarke reported.
“A total of 500 people signed up to volunteer for that in the first phase, which looked at the safety of this vaccine, and the second phase has now introduced a placebo control group,” she said.
According to John Nicholls, clinical professor of Pathology at the University of Hong Kong, “Vaccines can’t be rushed”.
“Normally with vaccines you start off with small animals and then move to primates and then to the humans,” Nicholls told Al Jazeera. “It seems that with this one they have gone straight to the humans, which is a very bold decision.
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“Most of the mortality in this disease is in the elderly, so the best thing would be to actually see what the anti-body response is in the elderly rather than the young,” he added.