Singapore — human trials for Covid-19 vaccine could begin in Singapore this week.
The court will be involved 108 healthy volunteers of different ages in Singapore, to be injected with the vaccine developed by Duke-NUS Medical school and pharmaceutical company in the United States ARKTUR therapy.
Called lunar-Cov19, the vaccine is one of 25 candidates for the vaccine worldwide, which has either been tested in humans, and obtained consent. Some 141 others are still at the preclinical stage.
Professor Rus Eong OOI, Deputy Director of the Duke-NUS Medical school emerging infectious diseases programme, told the Sunday Times that the aim of the study was to determine the safety of the vaccine, and if she could persuade the immune response in the body against SARS-cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
Blood samples will be taken from volunteers several times after immunization for analysis.
As elements of the immune system such as antibodies and T-cells are found in blood, these data will help scientists to determine if the vaccine can successfully stimulate the body to produce “soldiers” critical to helping the body fight infection.
Recently published results of human trials for other candidates of the vaccine has already shown promising signs on these fronts.
The results were published last Monday was from early phase clinical trials of vaccines being developed in Oxford University and a multinational pharmaceutical company “AstraZeneca”; Cancino biologics and military research unit in China; and German biotech BioNTech company and the U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer.
Prof OOI said that he hoped that the results from the Singapore court will also give encouraging results.
Preliminary studies in animals have shown that lunar-Cov19 vaccine is safe and has no side effects, he said.
These data allowed the vaccine to gain approval to conduct clinical trials ahead of the expected September time frame, making it the first in human clinical research in Singapore.
“When they found out what we were doing the vaccine, we were delighted that many members of the public said they wanted voluntarily to go for it,” said prof OOI. “And I think that’s encouraging, because the faster volunteers come forward, the faster we can complete the trial.”
The clinical trial will be conducted per unit of SingHealth investigational medicine unit located in a General hospital in Singapore.
Prof OOI said that we need volunteers of all ages.
If you wish to contact the unit, SingHealth investigational medicine email [email protected] or call 6323-7544/8318-0685.
He said that if all goes according to plan, the results of the test known in medical circles as a phase I/II trial – may be available around October or November.
The next stage of the clinical development process involves the inoculation lot more than a thousand volunteers in Singapore and abroad, said prof OOI.
It could start before the end of the year, he said, adding: “in the third stage, we want to know whether the vaccine prevents them from getting Covid-19.”
The vaccine works by “show” the immune system is an important part of the virus and “training” him to recognize and remember pathogen without exposing patients to the risk of the disease.
Traditional vaccines do this by introducing a killed or weakened viruses in the human body, so the immune system recognizes the intruder and starts to summon his “soldiers” – antibodies and T-lymphocytes to get rid of it.
But lunar-Cov19 vaccine includes a new type of technology.
Similar to front-runner vaccine, developed by the American firm of “modernity”, the vaccine contains only fragments of the virus’s genetic material, not whole virus.
When these viral genetic fragments enter human cells after the injection of fragments of the genome to commandeer the cells begin to produce a signature of the spike protein of the coronavirus.
This trains the body to recognize a key part of the virus spike protein without exposing it to the whole virus.
But while vaccines Moderna is a non-replicating vaccine, which means that it does not allow a spike protein to replicate in the body, a lunar-Cov19 can.
This replication simulates the actual viral infection, said prof OOI.
Not propagating vaccine, on the other hand, only provides the body with the invader.
“By mimicking replication, the body sees the ‘video’ invasion, not just a snapshot.
“This allows infection to the immune system, and we can see how best to target the virus,” he said.
For more information about COVID-19, call the hotline MZ: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.
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