Three COVID-19 vaccines have the potential to make rapid progress in preliminary testing in volunteers in China and the US, but it is still difficult to prove whether they really work.
CanSino Biologics China has begun the second phase of testing its vaccine candidates, the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology said Tuesday.
In the U.S., shots made by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc. not far behind. The first person to receive an experimental vaccine last month returned to the Seattle clinic on Tuesday for a second dose.
Head of NIH infectious disease, Dr. Anthony Fauci told The Associated Press so far “there are no red flags” and he hopes the next larger testing phase can begin around June.
The third candidate, from Inovio Pharmaceuticals, began giving experimental shots for safety testing the first step last week in the US and hopes to expand the study to China.
Initial tests focused on safety, and researchers in both countries tried different doses of different types of shots.
But moving to the second phase is an important step that allows vaccines to be tested on more people to look for signs that they protect against infection.
Last week, CanSino submitted a report showing it intended to enroll 500 people in the next study, comparing two doses of the vaccine with an artificial injection. As of Monday, 273 volunteers had been injected, state media said.
Going forward, Fauci said if the new coronavirus continues to circulate quite broadly during the summer and fall, it is possible to complete a larger study a little faster than the 12 to 18 months he predicted before – possibly heading “mid to late winter of next season . “
“Please let me say this warning: That’s assuming it’s effective. Look, that’s a big ‘if,'” Fauci emphasized. “It must be effective and it must be safe.”
During a press conference in China, the authorities also warned that the study must be done properly.
“Even though we are in an emergency, we cannot lower our safety and effectiveness standards in vaccine review,” said Wang Junzhi, a Chinese biopharmaceutical expert. “The public is paying attention.”
The World Health Organization this week counted more than five dozen other vaccine candidates in the initial stages of development being carried out around the world. Many research groups work together to speed up work; In an announcement Tuesday, vaccine giants Sanofi and GSK were the latest to partner with a candidate.
In the WHO list there are various ways to make a vaccine – so if one approach doesn’t work, hopefully another approach will work.
The CanSino vaccine is based on genetically engineered injections made to protect against Ebola. Leading US candidates use a different approach, made from copies of a coronavirus genetic code.
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Look for COVID-19 vaccine to heat up in China, USA (2020, April 14)
taken April 15, 2020
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