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China makes ‘notable breakthrough’ in search for vaccine against novel coronavirus: US media

By Xian Jiangnan (People's Daily Online)    17:41, June 30, 2020

Screenshot of the report by The Wall Street Journal

China’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences has received approval to conduct human scientific trials of a novel coronavirus messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine candidate developed using advanced genetics technology, signaling “a notable breakthrough for China’s quickly developing pharmaceutical industry,” wrote The Wall Street Journal on June 27.

Approved on June 19, this is the first COVID-19 mRNA vaccine to reach the clinical-trial stage in China, the report said, noting that the new vaccine brings the number of China-developed vaccines given the go-ahead for clinical trials to eight.

A study shows that the COVID-19 mRNA technology uses genetic material that tricks the body’s cells into producing proteins resembling those on the surface of the coronavirus, and which induces an immune response that is supposed to protect a person against exposure to the actual virus.

For this project, the academy is collaborating with private companies Suzhou Abogen Biosciences Co. and Shenzhen-listed Yunnan Walvax Biotechnology Co., according to the Chinese Clinical Trial Registry.

Meanwhile, Moderna Inc. in the U.S. and Germany’s BioNTech started testing their mRNA-based vaccine candidates on volunteers in their respective countries in the spring, it said, adding that no mRNA-based vaccines have been approved for public use by any country to date.

Two other Chinese drugmakers, the report noted, are pushing COVID-19 vaccine candidates that have already undergone initial human trials in China into phase-three tests in Brazil and the United Arab Emirates.

According to World Health Organization data, as of June 17, a total of 16 COVID-19 vaccine candidates were undergoing human clinical trials around the world.

Scientists expect multiple vaccines to be on the market, though it is not yet known which vaccine will be most effective, said the report.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Bianji)

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