West China Hospital’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate enters mid-stage human trial

People wearing face masks walk on a street, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, in Shanghai, China on November 13, 2020.
People wearing face masks walk on a street, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, in Shanghai, China on November 13, 2020.
Image: REUTERS/ ALY SONG

An experimental coronavirus vaccine developed by West China Hospital has entered a mid-stage human test, authorities of China's southwestern province of Sichuan said on Tuesday.

A Phase 2 trial to evaluate the safety and ability to trigger immune response of the hospital's candidate, taking place from November 17, is expected to recruit 960 participants aged older than 18, the Chinese Clinical Trial Registry data showed. 

Shanghai Pharmaceuticals Holding, which has invested in a firm jointly developing the vaccine, said on Monday that Phase 1 and Phase 2 trials could complete within this year.

The candidate uses coronavirus protein produced in insect cells to trigger immune response, a process that could allow quick and mass production of the vaccine, according to Shanghai Pharma.

The technology has been used in developing vaccines against flu and cervical cancer in Europe and the United States, it said.

Participants in the trial will be given two or three doses of the vaccine at different amounts and intervals, or placebo, the trial registry record showed.

Chinese scientists are leading more than 10 Covid-19 vaccine projects that have entered human tests, and five candidates are undergoing large, final-stage trials overseas.


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