China steps up partnerships to stay ahead in vaccine development

Four vaccine candidates, three Chinese and one English, are already in phase 3, to test their safety but also their effectiveness in trials involving several thousand people.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed al-Hamed, president of the Abu-Dhabi health department, receives a phase 3 trial of a vaccine developed by Sinopharm on July 16 in Abu Dhabi.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed al-Hamed, president of the Abu-Dhabi health department, receives a phase 3 trial of a vaccine developed by Sinopharm on July 16 in Abu Dhabi. HANDOUT / AFP

There is an unprecedented global biotechnology effort since the start of the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic. As of July 21, the World Health Organization had 142 vaccine candidates in preclinical trials (before human trials) and 24 vaccine candidates in clinical trials in humans. Four of them, three Chinese and one English, are even already in phase 3, to test not only their safety but also their effectiveness in trials involving several thousand people.

Thus on July 21, a first dose of CoronaVac, the vaccine developed by the Chinese of Beijin, Sinovac Biotech, was administered in Brazil, inaugurating phase 3 of a clinical trial which will enroll 9,000 volunteers and should last between 3 and 6 month. The Butantan Institute, which coordinates the clinical trial, will start production of 120 million doses in early 2021 if the results are positive.

The other two Chinese vaccine candidates in phase 3 trials are being developed by

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