Sinovac Biotech Ltd., a Beijing-based biopharmaceutical company that focuses on research and development of vaccines that protect against infectious diseases, said in a press release on June 14 that its novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) shot is safe and capable of eliciting an immune response in humans, suggesting the shot's potential in defending against infection of COVID-19.
Its vaccine called CoronaVac hasn't caused severe side effects and more than 90 percent of people administered with the shot on a 14-day interval have induced neutralizing antibodies two weeks after inoculation, the company said.
The preliminary findings come from phase I and II trials in China. A total of 743 healthy people ages 18 to 59 either received shots on two schedules or a placebo. More data will be uncovered from another group in the trial that received shots on a 28-day interval. Sinovac plans to publish its results in academic journals, according to a spokesman of the company.
Using a killed version of the COVID-19, Sinovac's vaccine is among five Chinese experimental shots that have reached the crucial final stage of human testing before they can be approved for public use. The company announced a partnership in June this year with Instituto Butantan to conduct its phase III trial in Brazil, where the novel pathogen has caused the second-largest outbreak in a global pandemic that so far infected more than 7.7 million people and killed over 428,000.
Since lockdowns and social-distancing measures have helped to keep infection rates low in many countries, some of the world’s leading vaccine efforts are seeking to conduct phase III trial in active outbreaks to evaluate the effectiveness of their shots.
Authorities in Brazil have approved the vaccine co-developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc to carry out late stage trials there, while Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna Inc. is set to go into phase III trials in the U.S.
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