China's SinoVac Starts Late Stage Trials for Its COVID-19 Vaccine

Cheryl Sanders
July 7, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic, which originated from China in December past year has now reached nearly all the countries in the world, killing more than 5.3 lakh people and infecting over 11 million.

India is eagerly awaiting a COVID-19 vaccine. The government, meanwhile, revised national clinical management protocol for Covid-19, reducing the overall dose of antiviral Remdesivir to be given to moderately ill patients from six days to five days. As of now, as many as 80 groups of scientists and researchers are racing against time to develop a vaccine.

More than 10 million cases have been reported worldwide, with more than 110 independent scientific institutions competing for the potential COVID-19 vaccine.

There are now only two experimental COVID-19 vaccines in final Phase III trials - one from Sinopharm and another from AstraZeneca AZN.L and the University of Oxford.


Bharat Biotech, in a background note circulated, stated that the first two phases of clinical trials of Coronavirus vaccine can not be out before October. "AZD1222 developed by Jenner Institute of University of Oxford and licensed to AstraZeneca; and the MRNA-1273 vaccine developed by Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute have inked an agreement with Indian manufacturers for production of the Covid vaccines", it said.

China has challenges, though, as the epidemic has petered out in the country, hampering efforts to conduct large trials. Hence, Beijing has the pressure to save the face by developing a cure.

The disagreements have included how closely Moderna should monitor trial participants who might contract COVID-19 for changes in oxygen levels that could indicate a unsafe complication, as well as Moderna's initial request for a lower threshold for proving its vaccine works.

"Faced with the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the consequent dislocation of the normal life, all other vaccine candidates across the globe have been similarly fast-tracked", the agency claimed.


Along with Covaxin, which is being developed by Bharat Biotech, and ZyCov-D (Zydus Cadila), there are 11 vaccine candidates out of a total of 140 which have entered the human trials stage.

No process in vaccine development trials would be skipped, said Ms. Swarup. In reality, no other country has announced plans to roll out a vaccine this fast, and ICMR did not explain how it thinks it can accelerate the process.

BioNTech-Pfizer is the candidate vaccine being co-developed by German biotech firm BioNTech and U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. Both hospitals start the registration of healthy people.

Those tensions include resisting government experts' advice on how to run the study and seeking a lower bar than proposed by the FDA to prove the vaccine works, as well as turning in trial protocols late, three sources familiar with the vaccine project told Reuters.


Elaborating on the lengthy process involved in vaccine development, he insisted that after spending many months and infusing a lot of funds, the uncertainty continues to linger. He said that scientists at Israel's Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) have developed an antibody to the novel coronavirus. However, there has not been any significant update about it after that.

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