A Chinese research firm attached to the military has revealed promising results in an early clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine.
According to a study published in The Lancet on Friday, the vaccine successfully triggers immune response in healthy individuals.
The phase one trial of the vaccine developed by the Academy of Military Medical Sciences and CanSino Biologics was safe.
Major General Chen Wei, the scientist leading the military researchers, said in statement: “These results represent an important milestone.
“The trial demonstrates that a single dose [of the vaccine] produces virus-specific antibodies and T cells in 14 days, making it a potential candidate for further investigation.
“However, these results should be interpreted cautiously. The challenges in the development of a Covid-19 vaccine are unprecedented, and the ability to trigger these immune responses does not necessarily indicate that the vaccine will protect humans from Covid-19.”
The first phase of the clinical trial for the adenovirus vector vaccine was completed at the end of March, and the second phase started on April 12. It is the first COVID-19 vaccine in the world that has entered the second phase of clinical trial.
The eldest volunteering the trial is a 84-year-old Wuhan resident, Xiong Zhengxing, who completed the vaccination on Monday morning.
China Daily reported on Monday that the vaccine is developed by genetic engineering methods and is used to prevent diseases caused by novel coronavirus infections.
The first phase of the vaccine clinical trial focused on its safety, while the second phase weighs more on its efficacy. Unlike the first phase, the second phase recruited more participants and introduced a placebo control group.
Patients were given a low, medium or high dose of the vaccine, and had their immune systems monitored for four weeks.
105 of the participants had developed binding antibodies – which attach themselves to the pathogen and can help mark them out to the immune system – 28 days after the vaccination. The study said none had shown any “serious” adverse reaction.
On Monday, the WHO said a safe and effective vaccine would be needed to fully halt the spread of COVID-19.
“Our global connectedness means the risk of re-introduction and resurgence of COVID-19 will continue,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing from Geneva, stressing that “ultimately, the development and delivery of a safe and effective vaccine will be needed to fully interrupt transmission.”