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Experimental Chinese COVID-19 vaccine is safe, according to researchers

Safety data was published on pre-print server medRxiv

An experimental COVID-19 vaccine currently being developed by the Institute of Medical Biology in China, under the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, appears to be safe, according to researchers.

The study, published on the pre-print server medRxiv, included results from a phase 1 trial of 191 healthy volunteers aged between 18-59 years old. In this trial, the vaccine did not induce any severe adverse reactions, according to researchers.

Among the most common adverse reactions were mild pain and fatigue as well as redness, itching and swelling at the injection site. In addition to the safety data, the study also identified that the experimental vaccine was able to induce an immune response against SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, in volunteers.

The activation of genes related to T cells, B cells, DCs and mononuclear cells/macrophages with varying dynamics is evidence of the immune response elicited by the vaccine,” the researchers noted.

“All the data obtained in this trial supports the safety and immunogenicity of this inactivated vaccine and is encouraging with regard to further studies of its efficacy in the future,” they added.

A pre-print research paper is one which is shared publicly prior to peer review, meaning that researchers can bypass the usual, and often lengthy, process of journal publication.

Given the urgency of developing vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, a number of companies are resorting to pre-print publication to support the advancement of their respective candidates.

This includes Johnson & Johnson (J&J), which similarly published results from a phase 1/2a study of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate on medRxiv last month. In this study, J&J’s JNJ-78436735/Ad26.COV2.S vaccine produced a strong immune response against the novel coronavirus.

Following on from the positive safety results, China is reportedly in talks to have its COVID-19 vaccines assessed by the World Health Organization (WHO) for international use.

According to Reuters, hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens have already been inoculated with locally developed vaccines, despite the fact that clinical trials are still ongoing.

Addressing an online news coherence, WHO’s coordinator for essential medicine and health technologies in the Western Pacific region Socorro Escalante said that China had been involved in preliminary discussions with the WHO to include its vaccine in an emergency use list.

“Potentially through this emergency use listing the quality and safety of these vaccines and efficacy could be assessed…and then this could be made available for our licensees,” said Escalante.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

7th October 2020

From: Research

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