Chinese lab ‘99 per cent sure’ vaccine will work

Chinese researchers are pinning big hopes on their potential coronavirus vaccine, saying they are "99 per cent sure" it will be effective.

Biotech company Sinovac, based in Beijing, is in stage two trials with its vaccine currently, with over 1000 volunteers involved in the experiment.

The company is currently in talks to hold the final stage of trials (stage three) in the UK.

 

When asked if he thought the test would be successful, Sinovac researcher Luo Baishan said: "Yes, yes. It must be successful … 99 per cent sure."

The vaccine, called CoronaVac, was shown to protect monkeys from infection by coronavirus in study results published in the academic journal science last month.

Due to difficulties conducting tests in China due to the low number of reported cases in the country, researchers are looking to conduct stage three elsewhere.

Sinovac is pushing ahead with production of the drug even as the trials are ongoing.

 

A commercial plant is under construction in Beijing with the objective of producing 100 million doses.

Helen Yang, the company's senior director of investor relations, says they hope to make the vaccine available for the entire population of China.

"We are discussing this and recommending it to other countries as well," she said.

"We are firstly targeting high-risk groups, for example, health workers or senior citizens, who may have a higher level of fatality rate. I think that will be the starting point. To be frank, the vaccine needs to be produced lot by lot."

 

The company's promising claims offer a kernel of hope, however the road to finding a vaccine is still long. Stage two trials must go on for some months before they progress to stage three trials, after which the vaccine still needs to be approved.

British drugmaker AstraZeneca also claims to be making good headway with their own vaccine trial. If successful, the vaccine will be made available in the UK before being distributed to the rest of the world.


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