Beijing: Chinese vaccine developer ‘CanSino Biologics’ is in talks with Russia, Brazil, Chile and Saudi Arabia governments. ‘CanSino Biologics’ wants to launch Phase III trial of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine, its co-founder said Saturday. China’s success in driving down COVID-19 infections has made it harder to conduct large-scale vaccine trials. So far only a few countries have agreed to work with it.
“We are contacting Russia, Brazil, Chile and Saudi Arabia (for the Phase III trial). It’s still in discussion,” Qiu Dongxu, executive director and co-founder of ‘CanSino’ said. He was speaking at an anti-viral drugdevelopment conference in Suzhou, in eastern China. He said its Phase III trial was likely to start ‘pretty soon’. The company is planning to recruit 40,000 participants for the test.
CanSino’s COVID-19 candidate, Ad5-nCov, became the first in China to move into human testing in March. However, it is running behind other potential vaccines in terms of trial progress. Two experimental vaccines have also been developed by ‘Sinovac Biotech’ and a unit of China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm). They are already approved for Phase III trials.
Qiu said its Phase II trial involving 508 people has yielded ‘much better’ results than the Phase I about the safety and ability to trigger immune response. He did not disclose specific evidence. He said its new factory is under construction in China. Once completed, it will produce 100-200 million doses of coronavirus vaccines per year by early 2021.
China’s military, whose research unit is co-developing the vaccine candidate, approved its military use last month. Sinopharm’s two experimental shots are offered to employees at state-owned firms travelling overseas.
There are no approved vaccines yet for COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by coronavirus. The virus has killed more than half a million people globally.