AGENCIES, Beijing: As the number of COVID-19 cases touched 203,612 globally on Wednesday, Chinese drug manufacturer CanSino Biologics Inc. announced that it received Chinese regulatory approval to start human trials of a vaccine against the novel coronavirus.
According to Bloomberg, the trial vaccine has been co-developed by the Hong Kong-listed company and China’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences.
The first clinical trials will take place in Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus. The scientific community is working at unprecedented speed in developing vaccines as the highly infectious pathogen looks unlikely to be stamped out through containment measures alone.
Meanwhile, in the US, President Donald Trump’s administration has been pressuring American drugmakers to develop a vaccine. In fact, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna Inc. was granted regulatory approval to fast track human trials last week bypassing the years of animal trials that are usually practised in developing vaccines.
“You’re planning on administering it to a healthy person who may or may not ever be exposed to the infectious disease agent you’re trying to protect them against,” said Rajeev Venkayya, president of the global vaccine unit at Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., said in a separate interview Tuesday. “There’s very little margin for a safety problem.”
CanSino’s trial involves injecting the experimental vaccine into 108 healthy adults, aged 18 to 60, in three different doses, according to data from the Chinese Clinical Trial Registry. Tests will start this month and continue through year’s end. The vaccine has already been tested on animals for potency.