Chinese COVID-19 Vaccine Trial in Humans Results in Some Positive Effects

In an article published in the Lancet, Chinese researchers report that the CanSino Biologics’ vaccine did not cause a ‘serious adverse event’, and in human testing led to the generation of antibodies to fight the virus and a rapid T-cell response.

However, the researchers from the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology and other Chinese health institutions said they were unsure of how effective the vaccine would be because the amount of antibodies and T-cells needed to combat the virus is unknown. A follow up test six months after the vaccine was administered will need to be conducted to gather data about the long term effects of the vaccine.

The type of vaccine used in the trial was an Ad5 vectored COVID-19 vaccine, which is different from other vaccines being developed. Other types of vaccines are mRNA, DNA and adenovirus vectored vaccines.

The vaccine may be more effective for young people than older people, as “Both the specific antibody response and T-cell response induced by vaccination were partly diminished by the presence of high pre-existing anti-Ad5 immunity.” Since older people are more likely to have contracted and have immunity to the Ad5 virus, which the vaccine is based on, the vaccine might not be as effective for them.

The trial for the vaccine took place in Wuhan, the origin point of the virus. The vaccine was trialed in 108 participants between the ages of 15 and 60. One third of the participants were given a low dose of the vaccine, one third were given a medium dose, and one third were given a high dose.

The report was made 28 days after the administration of the vaccine to the participants. While adverse reactions were reported among all test groups, there were no severe adverse reactions, only minor reactions such as pain, fever and headache. However, about 8% of participants, “had an episode of severe fever.”

More than 100 vaccines are being developed around the world, and several have gone to clinical trials. Researchers at the University of Oxford are developing an adenovirus vectored vaccine, which was trialed in over 1,000 adults, and they announced on Friday that they will be beginning the next phase of trials, which will involve more than 10,000 people.

The American company Moderna Inc. is developing a mRNA vaccine, which has undergone the first phase of trials in humans. Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Friday that he thought the Moderna vaccine was promising. Additionally there are several other Chinese vaccines undergoing trials.

To date, there are no effective treatments or vaccines for COVID-19. Leaders around the world have said that the development of a vaccine is extremely important, as it would provide protection from the virus and allow the economies of the world to resume as normal.

Development of vaccines is being fast tracked and governments are investing in research, and investing in companies that will manufacture and distribute vaccines. Vaccines normally take between 5 to 15 years to develop, so developing a vaccine within a year is a significant challenge.

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