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Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 23:06
Chinese vaccine approved for human testing in Wuhan
By Bloomberg
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 23:06 By Bloomberg

CanSino Biologics said it received Chinese regulatory approval to start human trials of a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, another example of a potential weapon against the illness being fast-tracked for testing as the global death toll escalates and nations impose lockdowns on their citizens.

READ MORE: First novel coronavirus vaccines undergo animal testing

The vaccine, co-developed by the HKSAR-listed company and China’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences, will undergo clinical trials in Wuhan, CanSino Biologics said in a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

Despite the rapid introduction of human trials, the earliest available vaccine is at least six months away, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention

CanSino’s trial involves injecting the experimental vaccine into 108 healthy adults, aged 18 to 60, in three different doses, according to data from the Chinese Clinical Trial Registry. Tests will start this month and continue through year’s end. The vaccine was tested on animals and proven safe and capable of eliciting immunity against the virus, CanSino said in its statement.

As the outbreak spread around the world, more than 100 clinical trials were launched in China to study the effectiveness of everything from anti-flu drugs and antibody-containing plasma from recovered patients, to traditional Chinese herbal medicine. A smaller number of trials have been announced in countries including the US, South Korea and Thailand.

GlaxoSmithKline Plc said last month it was working with China-based Clover Biopharmaceuticals on an experimental vaccine. Also, the US government’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority is working with Sanofi and Johnson & Johnson on potential vaccines.

ALSO READ: Xi calls for accelerated vaccine push

Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co also licensed a vaccine that’s now being developed at the pre-clinical stage by Mainz, Germany-based BioNTech SE.

Despite the rapid introduction of human trials, the earliest available vaccine is at least six months away, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it would take about a year-and-a-half to complete trials, scale up production and make a vaccine widely available.

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