China has a fifth potential coronavirus vaccine in a human trial and more are on the way, a health official said Friday, as the world races to find a formula to stop the contagion in its tracks.
So far there have been no “major adverse reactions” reported among the 2,575 volunteers participating in the five phase-two tests, said Zeng Yixin, deputy director of the National Health Commission.
“According to the plan, if all goes well, the above projects will complete the second phase of clinical trials in July this year,” Zeng said.
More vaccine candidates are in the pipeline and awaiting approval for human trials, he added.
China had previously said four human trials for possible vaccines were under way.
Zeng did not say when the trials, which must complete three phases for the drug to be approved for use, might be finished.
Scientists around the world are working at breakneck speed to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, which has killed more than 300,000 people and infected over 4.4 million.
But China’s success in largely taming the outbreak could pose a hurdle for its vaccine developers when they reach the final stage of testing.
The drug must be administered to a group of volunteers and a placebo given to a control group in the same area where the virus is spreading to see if it works.
Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech, which developed one of the vaccines being tested, has told AFP that it is looking to carry out the final stage of its trial abroad because China does not have a large enough coronavirus cluster.
Experts say it will take at least 12 to 18 months to develop an effective vaccine, possibly even longer.
School closures reduced spread of coronavirus by 40-60 percent: Wuhan researchSchools and educational institutions around the world have temporarily shut to contain the spread of coronavirus. But how effective have been these ... Coronavirus
Brazil's health minister resigns after one month on job amid coronavirus battleBrazil’s health minister, who took office less than a month ago, resigned on Friday in a sign of continuing upheaval in the nation’s battle with the ... World News
India’s coronavirus data picture unclear as faulty Chinese test kits delay surveyIndia has lost two weeks in its bid to get a picture of the spread of the coronavirus in its population because of poor Chinese testing kits, a member ... Coronavirus
Boy dies in France from rare disease linked to coronavirusA nine-year-old boy has died in France from a Kawasaki-like disease believed to be linked to coronavirus, his doctor said on Friday, the first such ... Coronavirus