Chinese firm gets approval to begin human testing for potential coronavirus vaccine

BEIJING: China has approved a coronavirus vaccine candidate developed by Chongqing Zhifei Biological Products’ unit to begin human testing, the company said in a filing on Tuesday.

The potential vaccine, co-developed by Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical and the Institute of Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has received a certificate from the National Medical Products Administration to launch clinical trials.

Chinese researchers and companies are testing six experimental shots in humans, and more than a dozen vaccines are in different stages of clinical trials globally against the virus that has killed over 470,000 people.

However, none of the them have passed large-scale, late-stage phase 3 clinical trials, a necessary step before entering the consumer market.

The Institute of Medical Biology at Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (IMBCAMS) began on Saturday a phase 2 human test for its experimental shot, which is among six possible vaccines Chinese scientists are testing in humans, following an on-going phase-1 study that has recruited about 200 participants since May, the institute said on Sunday in its social media channel.

The phase-2 trial will determine the shot’s dose and continue to evaluate whether the potential vaccine can safely trigger immune responses in healthy people.