Chinese military scientists hope to test coronavirus vaccine abroad

Results from a first-stage clinical trial will be published this month, but researchers say more extensive tests would best be conducted overseasTests conducted in some of the worst-hit countries could help produce faster and more accurate results. China hopes to test a possible Covid-19 vaccine abroad as scientists look to carry out large-scale trials to test its effectiveness.

Military scientists have been working on a vaccine and the results of the first-stage clinical trials will be announced later this month.

We have contained the virus so fast, and now we don’t have enough confirmed cases for further vaccine testingChen Ling, virologist

Chen Ling, a virologist at the State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Disease, said the second and third-stage trials would need thousands of subjects and carrying out these tests in the worst-hit countries would help to produce faster and more accurate results.

“We have contained the virus so fast, and now we don’t have enough confirmed cases for further vaccine testing,” he said.

“For example, it may need thousands of people to be tested in order to know if there is a statistical significance in protection between people who received a candidate vaccine and people who didn’t.” ”

Coronavirus: March 2020, the month Covid-19 changed the worldChen Wei, a top epidemiologist and virologist with the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, told state-owned newspaper China Daily that if the initial results proved the vaccine was safe and produced the desired effects, China would look to test its effectiveness overseas if the global epidemic continued to spread.CORONAVIRUS UPDATE NEWSLETTERGet updates direct to your inboxSUBSCRIBEBy registering, you agree to our T&C and Privacy Policy

She was quoted as saying that many countries had expressed interest in working with her research team to test the recombinant vaccine – which uses a harmless virus or bacterium to introduce the pathogen’s genetic material into the body to build up immunity – but did not name the countries in question.

Chen Wei, a leading military scientist, says many countries have expressed interest in working with her team. Photo: Handout

The disease, which is caused by a previously unknown coronavirus, was first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has since spread globally.

At least 900,000 cases have been confirmed and more than 45,000 people have died.

The number of cases recorded in Italy, Spain and the United States have now surpassed China’s total.

Tao Lina, a Shanghai-based vaccine expert, said it would be better to carry out future clinical tests in these countries, or other developed nations such as Britain and Germany, where there is a high level of scientific attainment.

Tao, a former official with Shanghai’s centre for disease control and prevention, said the US was likely to be unwilling to cooperate with China, but Beijing could work with other hard-hit nations such as Britain.

The first stage of the clinical trial for the vaccine started in Wuhan on March 16, with 108 volunteers receiving injections.

The test began a day after the US National Institutes of Health announced that another possible vaccine, developed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a biotechnology company, had also started clinical trials.US military scientists have also been working on a vaccine, along with civilian researchers around the world.

Beijing-based military analyst Zhou Chenming said that ideally American scientists would work with their Chinese counterparts to develop a vaccine.

“The best weapon to fight the pandemic is a joint operation between China and the US, putting aside their political disagreements,” Zhou said.

“Now the whole world – not just China or the US – is facing a common enemy: Covid-19.”

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