China launches phase-2 human test for COVID-19 vaccine

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DHAKA, June 21, 2020 (BSS) – China today said it launched a second phase human trial of a possible coronavirus vaccine aimed to fix the shot’s doses and evaluate further its effectiveness and safety.

“An inactivated COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by the Institute of Medical Biology under the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences has entered phase-2 clinical trials in China,” the state-run Xinhua reported.

The report said the clinical trial II was being carried out at the southwestern province of Yunnan to “further evaluate the immunogenicity and safety of the vaccine in humans”.

The institute started the phase-1 clinical trials in May when nearly 200 volunteers aged between 18 and 59 received the vaccine at a hospital in western Sichuan Province while the “study was randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled”.

The development came two days after China’s private Sinovac Biotech Ltd said it expected to complete the last phase of its prospective COVID-19 vaccine before November claiming the inoculate to have proved “safe and effective” on human so far.

About a dozen vaccines are in different stages of human tests globally while Chinese researchers appeared as forerunners alongside their western counterparts and drug makers.

None of the vaccine trials, however, have passed large-scale, late-stage phase 3 clinical trials, a mandatory step to avail regulatory approval for sale.

Regulators and experts in the US and Europe, however, said the emergency situation could allow the interim use of an prospective vaccine or vaccines ahead of an official go ahead clearance.

The Xinhua report said IMBCAMS had rich experiences and strong capabilities in vaccine research as it previously developed and produced attenuated live vaccines and inactivated vaccines against polio, shielding hundreds of thousands of Chinese children from being disabled.

IMBCAMS in its social media channel, meanwhile, said it expected to start using a plant dedicated to producing a coronavirus vaccine this year in Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province, to prepare for China’s future vaccine supplies.

Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology said so far they allowed five COVID-19 vaccine candidates for clinical trials in the country, “accounting for 40 percent of the total vaccines in clinical trials worldwide”.

The world now visibly witnesses an accelerated race for a vaccine or vaccines as the World Health Organization (WHO) warns the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating and “the world is in a new and dangerous phase”.

IMBCAMS began on Saturday a phase 2 human test for its experimental shot, which is among other vaccines Chinese scientists are testing in humans, following a phase-1 study recruiting about 200 participants since May.

Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention earlier said certain groups of people with special needs could use experimental vaccines under urgent circumstances by the end of 2020.

The coronavirus, which was first detected in China late in 2019, has infected 8.81 million people globally and killed more than 460,000 people.