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Coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccines latest updates: CanSino Biologics to start Phase III trials; GSK to develop plant-based vaccine

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Vaccine Latest Update: Russia's Sechenov University has claimed that it had successfully completed tests on volunteers of the world's first vaccine against Covid-19

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 15, 2020 7:02:28 pm
So far, vaccine candidates by Sinovac, China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) and Oxford University-AstraZeneca are undergoing Phase III tests.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Vaccine Latest Update: While reports that Moscow’s Sechenov University had finished clinical trials of its experimental vaccine hit headlines on Sunday, the jab is still far away from being ready for mass production and use. The reports did not specifically mention that it was just the phase one trials that had been completed.

Of the 21 vaccine candidates listed by the WHO in clinical trial stages, the vaccine candidates by Chinese company Sinovac, China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) and Oxford University-AstraZeneca are undergoing Phase III tests.

In another interesting development, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which is already working with Sanofi on a shot, has partnered with Canadian biopharmaceutical firm Medicago to develop and manufacture a plant-based adjuvanted Covid-19 vaccine candidate.

Despite running late on starting Phase III trials, Moderna Inc has signed an agreement with Spain’s Laboratorios Farmaceuticos Rovi SA to scale up the manufacturing and production of its potential vaccine to supply markets outside the United States.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine latest news, status check


💉 CanSino Biologics coronavirus vaccine status

After Sinovac and China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), Chinese vaccine developer CanSino Biologics is set to start phase III trials of its vaccine candidate soon, Reuters reported.

CanSino Biologics is in talks with Russia, Brazil, Chile and Saudi Arabia to launch the trials as dipping Covid-19 infections in China has made it harder to conduct large-scale tests.

Qiu Dongxu, executive director and co-founder of CanSino, said the company would recruit 40,000 participants for the test. Its Covid-19 candidate, Ad5-nCov, became the first in China to move into human testing in March.

Qiu said the Phase II trials, involving 508 people, yielded “much better” results than Phase I in respect to safety and ability to trigger immune response. He said a new factory under construction in China would allow it to produce 100-200 million doses of coronavirus vaccines per year by early 2021.

China’s military, whose research unit jointly developed the vaccine candidate, approved its military use last month.

READ | All you need to know about Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin

💉 Russia coronavirus vaccine status

On Sunday, Moscow’s Sechenov University claimed that it had “successfully completed tests on volunteers of the world’s first vaccine against Covid-19”, sending ripples across the scientific fraternity. The development was also tweeted by the Russian embassy in India.

However, a closer look at the time-frame of the research suggests that it has only cleared Phase 1 of human trials. The vaccine candidate, being developed by the Gamalei National Research Centre for Epidemiology and Microbiology, in partnership with the Russian Defence Ministry, had begun phase I human trials on June 18 on 18 volunteers from the armed forces.

A report by the TASS news agency of Russia on July 10 said the phase I clinical trials would end on July 15, while the second phase would begin on July 13.

The news report said the ministry had claimed that none of the volunteers had reported any complaints, experienced no side-effects, and would be discharged from the hospital soon.

“Sechenov University has successfully completed tests on volunteers of the world’s first vaccine against #COVID19. The #vaccine is safe. The volunteers will be discharged on July 15 and July 20, chief researcher Elena Smolyarchuk told TASS,” the embassy tweeted.

Explained | Why Russian Covid-19 vaccine is far from ready

💉 GlaxoSmithKline coronavirus vaccine status

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is set to develop a plant-based adjuvanted Covid-19 vaccine candidate in partnership with
Canadian biopharmaceutical firm Medicago.

According to reports, GSK’s adjuvant system will be combined with Medicago’s recombinant Coronavirus Virus-Like Particles (CoVLP), which mimic SARS-CoV-2, and enable identification by the immune system.

In preclinical studies, Medicago’s CoVLP vaccine candidate has shown a high level of neutralising antibodies when a single dose was given with adjuvant.

The company intends to begin Phase I testing this month where the candidate will be given on a one and two-dose vaccination schedule, 21 days apart. GSK and Medicago expect to complete development and make the vaccine available in the first half of next year.

💉 Chongqing Zhifei coronavirus vaccine status

Less than three weeks after it launched clinical trials, China’s Chongqing Zhifei Biological Products has moved into Phase II human tests, the company has said. The vaccine is being co-developed by Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical and the Institute of Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The vaccine candidate is one of eight treatments Chinese researchers and companies are testing in humans.

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