【CGTN】Chinese company to launch int'l phase III clinical trial at UAE
There's renewed hope for a coronavirus vaccine. China National Biotec Group's (CNBG) announces that one of its inactivated vaccines triggered a strong neutralizing antibody response in a phase one and two study. All volunteers generated antibodies. The vaccine was developed by CNBG's subsidiary, Wuhan Institute of Biological Products. CGTN's Wu Lei talked with its chief scientist and brings us more.
Since April 12th, 1120 volunteers aged between 18 and 59 were given two inoculations of a trial COVID vaccine over a 28 day span. Now all the volunteers have generated high levels of neutralizing antibodies. Experts say this is a really exciting result amid early clinical data for a COVID-19 vaccine.
SHEN SHUO Chief Scientist Wuhan Institute of Biological Products Co., Ltd. "This is actually the world's first inactivated vaccine that entered into clinical trials and proved its safety and a high percentage of convention neutralizing antibodies."
After finishing phase one and two clinical trials, Shen Shuo says his company is planning to start phase three overseas in the coming months, as they have been working closely with other global companies and institutions.
SHEN SHUO Chief Scientist, Wuhan Institute of Biological Products Co., Ltd. "So in this situation, we have to do the phase three clinical trials overseas, in those countries where there are high case numbers, that is the meaning of phase three, we have to vaccinate the people, then to see whether it protect people very efficiently."
So far 5 Chinese vaccine candidates for Covid-19 are undergoing clinical trials among over 2500 volunteers. Vaccine research and development is a long term investment and effort, many are concerned about possible mutation of the virus. Experts say so far this novel coronavirus is relatively stable compared to other viruses.
SHEN SHUO Chief Scientist Wuhan Institute of Biological Products Co., Ltd. "It is not like influenza. For the influenza virus, we found the antigen shift and drift, so it mutated very quickly, but for this virus, we don't have evidence that it looks like influenza, now we don't have that."
It is estimated that there are around 150 vaccine candidate projects across the world. Chinese scientists have been racing to develop COVID-19 vaccines via five different approaches. Only those who finish their testing of safety and effectiveness will be allowed for mass production. The uncertainties of any new virus always pose difficulties for vaccine research.
SHEN SHUO Chief Scientist Wuhan Institute of Biological Products Co., Ltd. "For example, we don't know if a high level of antibodies can prevent the infection of the disease, that is a challenge."
On one hand, Shen says they are racing against time to prepare for the rest of the clinical trials, on the other hand, they are also expanding their manufacturing capability, as they hope to offer 200 million vaccines for the world each year.
WU LEI Wuhan "There are still many challenges for vaccine development. But China has promised to make its COVID-19 vaccine a global public health product when it is ready for utilization after successful research and clinical development. WL, CGTN, WH."