China begins phase-II clinical trial of COVID-19 vaccine in Wuhan

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Updated: Apr 13, 2020 9:41 PM

The vaccine, developed by the Institute of Biotechnology, Academy of Military Medical Sciences of China for the novel coronavirus has entered Phase II of a human clinical trial on Sunday with 500 volunteer participants, state-run China Daily reported on Monday.

The first phase of the vaccine clinical trial focused on its safety, while the second phase weighs more on its efficacy. (Reuters)

Chinese scientists have started the second phase of a clinical trial of a vaccine for coronavirus at the country’s epicentre Wuhan as the global race to develop a drug to curb the pandemic intensified. The vaccine, developed by the Institute of Biotechnology, Academy of Military Medical Sciences of China for the novel coronavirus has entered Phase II of a human clinical trial on Sunday with 500 volunteer participants, state-run China Daily reported on Monday.

The eldest volunteer is 84-year-old Wuhan resident Xiong Zhengxing, who completed the vaccination on Monday morning, accompanied by his daughter. The vaccine is developed by genetic engineering methods and is used to prevent diseases caused by novel coronavirus infections, the report said.

The first phase of the vaccine clinical trial focused on its safety, while the second phase weighs more on its efficacy. Unlike the first phase, the second phase recruited more participants and introduced a placebo control group.
Volunteer recruitment for the vaccine began on Thursday. It is China’s first candidate for the virus that entered clinical human testing. The Phase I trial was conducted in March.

Following the outbreak of Covid-19, many other Chinese institutes are also stepping up efforts to develop vaccines for the disease. China has stepped up the process to finalise vaccines to counter Covid-19 after Kaiser Permanente research facility in Seattle and Washington stole the march and began human trials.

There is a global race to develop the vaccine. India’s Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech lab too are developing the vaccine besides Australia and the UK.

Currently, there are no effective drugs for the deadly disease, although several candidate drugs are in clinical trials.
Scientists say China may have a head start on the development of the vaccine as it was the first to map out the genome sequence of the novel coronavirus as the virus surfaced in Wuhan in December last year. China subsequently shared the sequence with the WHO, the US and other countries, setting off the race to develop the vaccine.

 

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