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COVID-19: After US, China also holds vaccine trials

China’s scientists using 5 approaches to develop vaccines to treat deadly disease, say officials

Riyaz ul Khaliq   | 17.03.2020
COVID-19: After US, China also holds vaccine trials

ANKARA

A day after the U.S. launched its first clinical trials for the novel coronavirus vaccine with human test subjects, China on Tuesday said its scientists are using five different approaches to develop vaccines for the deadly disease.

“Some vaccines for the novel coronavirus disease [COVID-19] are expected to enter clinical trials as soon as possible in China,” said Chinese officials at a news conference in Beijing, Xinhua news reported.

“So far, most teams are expected to complete preclinical research in April and some are moving forward faster,” Wang Junzhi, an academic with the Chinese Academy of Engineering, told reporters in China’s capital.

A vaccine being developed in Shanghai is expected to enter clinical trials by mid-April, a health official from the region said.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) of the U.S. announced Monday that the anti-COVID-19 study is being run at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle, Washington with funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The NIH added that 45 healthy adults aged 18-55 will take part in the tests which are expected to run roughly six weeks.

But Chinese scientists are focusing on “vaccine safety” which has been a priority in research and development, Wang said.

“A research team has been enrolling volunteers and applied for clinical trials with the National Medical Products Administration,” he added.

Chinese Education Ministry has also urged Peking, Tsinghua and Xiamen Universities to “speed up research” on the COVID-19 vaccine, said Lei Chaozi, an official of the ministry.

In the U.S., the death toll from novel coronavirus has climbed to 85, with total confirmed cases over 4,600, according to Johns Hopkins University in Maryland.

COVID-19 emerged in Wuhan, China last December, and has spread to at least 152 countries and territories. The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a pandemic.

Out of 187,000 confirmed cases, the death toll now exceeds 7,400, while over 80,500 patients have recovered, according to Worldometer, a website that compiles new case numbers.

The current number of active cases is more than 99,000 -- 93% mild and 7% in critical condition.

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