China has approved the testing of two coronavirus vaccines on human beings. The testing of the vaccines is still in the early stages which should offer a glimmer of hope to people around the world.
It is very important to note that for a vaccine or drug to be tested in humans, it has to be approved for clinical trials meaning that it has been tested in animals. In humans, this takes three phases and the last phase is where a clear picture is derived after it has been tested in over 100,000 patients.
At the moment, doctors around the world are using combination of drugs to treat symptoms of coronavirus. This has helped many countries to see recoveries of the virus. Over 470,000 recoveries are being registered worldwide from coronavirus.
China Has Started First Phase of Clinical Testing of Coronavirus Vaccine
Coronavirus started in China in the city of Wuhan in 2019 and by January 2020, it was claiming many lives in the country. The nation did enough to try and contain the virus but with new cases coming up each day, it was now a question of finding the vaccine.
In March, the Chinese government had approved the testing of vaccines in animals and now they have approved for early stages of testing of the vaccine among humans.
The experimental vaccines are being developed by a Beijing-based unit of Sinovac Biotech and by the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, an affiliate of state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group, state news agency Xinhua reported on Tuesday.
Experts say a vaccine for the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, could take at least a year to a year and a half to be proven safe, effective and made widely available.
To date, the World Health Organization (WHO), says three vaccine candidates are in the clinical testing phase, meaning they are able to be tested on humans, while 67 potential vaccines are in pre-clinical phase.
Countries like the United States of America and Australia had indicated that they had started clinical trials for the Coronavirus vaccines but this could take a while before they are availed to the public.
In March, Beijing gave the green light to another clinical trial for a coronavirus vaccine candidate developed by the military-backed Academy of Military Medical Sciences and biotech firm CanSino Bio. The first vaccine that got the green light to start clinical trials in China is said to be in the second phase of trial.
How long before Scientists Can have a vaccine?
There is growing hope that scientists have a bit of a head start when it comes to creating a vaccine for the virus that causes COVID-19, according to Dr Kayat.
With Chinese scientists providing the genome sequencing of the new coronavirus, scientists know it shares 79 percent of the same genetic material as SARS, and 50 percent of the same material as MERS. This allows developers to use groundwork already created in research for vaccines for those viruses.
Vaccine testing typically begins with animal testing, although at least one coronavirus vaccine developer has skipped this step and moved straight to human testing, and others have done parallel human and animal testing.
The human testing is usually composed of three phases.
Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology at Oxford University who is heading a UK team developing a vaccine, told the Times on Saturday that she was “80 percent confident” their vaccine could be effective and ready by September – cutting the estimated time down to six months.
Gilbert told the newspaper that human trials for her team’s vaccine were set to begin in about two weeks.
She added she was working with the UK government to create a possible plan to start production before the vaccine is finalised, which could allow the public to access the vaccine as soon as it is proven effective.
Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is a freelance writer for Newslibre and Programs Manager at the Craft Silicon Foundation. He loves writing about sports, politics and news around the globe and Inspiring new young people!!