Chinese coronavirus vaccine approved for use in country's military after clinical trials

Elias Hubbard
June 29, 2020

Other leading vaccine candidates are the USA pharma giant Pfizer, who is working with Germany's BioNTech on developing a candidate now in phase two trials, and also Oxford University/AstraZeneca in the United Kingdom that has a $1.2 billion U.S. investment attached. About 15 experimental COVID-19 vaccines are in various stages of human study worldwide.

No vaccine has yet been approved for commercial use against the illness caused by the new coronavirus, but over a dozen vaccines from more than 100 candidates globally are being tested in humans.

Organisations around the world are racing to find ways to treat and prevent the deadly pathogen, which first emerged late previous year in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and has since killed over half a million people worldwide.

More than half of 17 candidate vaccines identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) that are in clinical evaluation involve Chinese companies or institutes.

CNBG, affiliated to the state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), said earlier this month that another vaccine candidate produced by its Wuhan-based unit also triggered high-level antibodies safely in clinical trial participants based on preliminary results.

CanSino said Monday that China's Central Military Commission approved the use of the vaccine on June 25, for one year. Trials started on 17 March.

The vaccine uses an adenovirus, which normally causes the common cold, as a vector.

"We will do it at various sites with a certain degree of flexibility" so that the researchers can change rapidly as the virus moves, Fauci said.

Most of the other vaccines in the pipeline target not the whole germ but a key piece: the "spike" protein that studs the coronavirus surface and helps invade human cells.

Another vaccine made by the NIH and Moderna Inc. simply injects a part of the coronavirus genetic code that instructs the body to produce copies of harmless spikes that the immune system learns to recognize.

The clinical trials which started on April 27 in Shangqiu county in China's Henan province have shown the vaccine to be effective and safe, said CNBG.

It was not clear how widely the potential vaccine will be used within China's enormous military establishment.

The company has completed phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials of the vaccine in China. Thus, the AstraZeneca vaccine candidate, for example, is the outcome of a British research institution's collaboration with a British-Swedish pharma conglomerate, with clinical testing being done in Brazil.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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