After US, China also gives go-ahead for human trials of coronavirus vaccine

29 Mars, 2020, 14:56 | Auteur: Therese Cote
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Two days after the USA began human trials of a potential coronavirus vaccine, China has also given the go-ahead for another drug. A total of 45 healthy adults have been enrolled in the study.

The trial will be led by Chen Wei of China's Academy of Military Medical Sciences, along with Hong Kong-listed biotech firm, CanSino Biologics, as the Chinese clinical trial registration database showed. It will begin from this week and continue till December 31, 2020.

There are now no approved vaccines or treatments against the coronavirus disease, known as COVID-19, which has infected more than 175,000 people across the world since it was first identified in central China in late December.

Three of the study participants spoke to The Associated Press on Monday.

Study participants will receive two doses of the vaccine, which does not contain the virus itself, via intramuscular injection in the upper arm approximately 28 days apart, according to NIH.

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Tests are being conducted by Kaiser Permanente Washing Research Institute in Seattle. Participants also will be asked to provide blood samples at specified time points, which investigators will test in the laboratory to detect and measure the immune response to the experimental vaccine.

The vaccine, mRNA-1273, was developed by the US biotech firm Moderna and researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Notable other researchers have suggested a vaccine could be available much sooner, with a team from the University of Queensland suggesting they could have a vaccine on the market by the end of the year.

Even if initial safety tests do go well, "you're talking about a year to a year and a half" before any vaccine could be issued for public use, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the AP.

Scientists at NIAID's Vaccine Research Center (VRC) and Moderna were able to develop mRNA-1273 because of prior studies of related coronaviruses that cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). They are also concerned that such trial could put participants at greater risk.

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