Two inactivated vaccine candidates have been approved for clinical trials in China to combat the widespread COVID-19 outbreak, Xinhua reported today. This is the first batch of inactivated vaccines for the coronavirus that has received clinical research approval.
The two vaccine candidates were developed by Wuhan Institute of Biological Products of China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), and a research unit affiliated with Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech.
Yin Weidong, head of Sinovac Biotech, pointed out that the vaccine developed by his company can neutralize not only the novel coronavirus in China, but also different strains of the virus from all over the world. “This is a vaccine not only for China, but also for the world,” he said.
Since there is no effective cure yet for the virus and many predict that it will take years to potentially see one, people are placing their bets on vaccines as a powerful tool to contain COVID-19. Scientists and research institutes across the globe are racing to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.
China is currently looking at five technical directions of vaccine development – inactivated vaccines, recombinant subunit vaccines, adenovirus-based vaccines, attenuated influenza vaccines, and nucleic acid-based vaccines, Wang Junzhi, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering, introduced during a press conference held by the State Council joint defense and control mechanism on March 17.
Wang also explained the process of clinical trials. Research companies can submit their clinical trial applications to SFDA on a rolling basis. While waiting for the results of the application, companies can carry out clinical trial scheme demonstrations, recruitment of volunteers and other related work. Once approved, companies can start early-stage human tests.