Coronavirus: German pharmaceutical company begins human trials of potential vaccine

The headquarters of biopharmaceutical company BioNTech are seen in Mainz, Germany. (Reuters)

German pharmaceutical company BioNTech confirmed it is currently working with US-based Pfizer on human trials of a potential vaccine for the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The company said it began testing on 12 study participants who were dosed with vaccine candidate BNT162 in Germany since dosing began on April 23.

“BioNTech and Pfizer are jointly developing BNT162. During the clinical development stage, BioNTech will provide its partner’s clinical supply of the vaccine from its GMP-certified mRNA manufacturing facilities in Europe. BioNTech is collaborating with Fosun Pharma to develop BNT162 in China, where the companies expect to conduct trials,” the German company said in a press release.

Several pharmaceutical companies across the world are attempting to deliver a vaccine for the coronavirus that has killed more than 215,000 people globally so far and infected at least three million people.

BioNTech said the next stage of their trial will include testing 200 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 to 55.

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“The study will also assess the effects of repeated vaccination following a prime injection for the three vaccine candidates that contain uridine containing mRNA (uRNA) or nucleoside modified mRNA (modRNA),” the company said.

The German attempt at a potential vaccine is one of more than 100 candidate vaccines across the world. The UK recently announced its human trials for a coronavirus vaccine it says could be ready by this fall.

The administration of US President Donald Trump is said to be quietly planning a major undertaking
to speed the development of a coronavirus vaccine, with a goal to have 100 million doses ready by year's end, Reuters report citing a Bloomberg News report on Wednesday.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:06 - GMT 07:06
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