China's COVID-19 vaccine candidate shows promise in human trials, CNBG says

Imperial College London

This will be the first time the vaccine is trialled in humans, and will reveal whether it is safe and effective in mounting an immune response against COVID-19.

The vaccine, developed by a Wuhan-based research institute affiliated to CNBG's parent company China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), was found to have induced high-level antibodies in all inoculated people without serious adverse reaction, according to the preliminary data from a clinical trial initiated in April involving 1,120 healthy participants aged between 18 and 59.

Part of the government's "Operation Warp Speed", the vaccines are receiving government support as the race to find a vaccine amps up globally.

"Before any vaccines are approved or authorized, Operation Warp Speed will build the necessary plans and infrastructure for distributing them", the official said. The goal to put out a vaccine is set at the end of this year.

China is also amping up its pace to come up with a vaccine.

"However, which populations are able and should receive a vaccine that is developed will depend on the results of clinical trials", the official added. Published online in the medical journal Cell, the vaccine candidate was tested on monkeys, rats, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

The potential vaccine is called BBIBP-CorV and works by activating high-level antibodies that are capable of neutralising the virus, and prevent further infection.

As stated by researchers, CoronaVac vaccine candidate offered safety and protection to rhesus macaques (monkeys) in an animal challenge study.

The trials are the first human tests of a new technology which the researchers say could transform vaccine development by enabling rapid responses to emerging diseases such as the COVID-19 infection caused by the new coronavirus.

"In the long-term, a viable vaccine could be vital for protecting the most vulnerable, enabling restrictions to be eased and helping people to get back to normal life", Professor Robin Shattock from the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial, who is leading the vaccine development process, told Imperial press.