China embarks on clinical trial for virus vaccine

Grant Boone
March 26, 2020

In collaboration with China, the scientists will use these in this project to develop a potential antibody therapy, with the aim of getting the therapy to the stage where it is ready to enter clinical trials to determine if it can treat a range of coronavirus infections including the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The deadly Coronavirus has killed 18,901 people and infected 421,792 individuals globally till now, but still global scientists are struggling to find an effective drug or vaccine to help the COVID-19 patients.

It should be noted that the COVID-19 has already claimed thousands of lives and despite the lockdown measures countries like the USA and Italy are still struggling to bring down the number of infection and death cases.

Scientists across the globe race to develop the vaccine that could help humanity combat the invisible enemy.

If human trials move on successfully, the researchers at Oxford University will begin a larger trial to assess the effectiveness of the vaccine. This means the pathogen is less likely to become more unsafe as it spreads, giving researchers hope that they could create a long-lasting vaccine for the deadly virus that has killed over 18,500 people across the globe in a matter of few months.

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A project under Prof Xiao-Ning Xu from Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, Imperial College London, will receive £0.6 million for work on developing antibodies to target the disease.

"These efforts will be critical to finding better ways to treat and manage COVID-19, which we hope will help to save lives, protect the more vulnerable, and support the development, trials and in due course the scale up of production of much-needed vaccines".

Their technique fast-tracks the process compared to the months it usually takes for testing based on human responses. The doctors will see if the drugs are safe and effective.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock praised the investment as a necessary step in the "midst of a global health emergency" to ensure the United Kingdom was using all of its extensive research expertise to help quickly develop new vaccines. The trials use an adaptive design, which means it can test new treatments as they become available. But, the country's Defence Ministry stated: "There has been no breakthrough in the efforts of the biological institute to find a vaccine for the Coronavirus or to develop testing kits". The doctors will use current HIV treatments, including lopinavir-ritonavir and low-dose corticosteroids.

Some of the data to be gathered include who are at the highest risk of severe disease, what happens to the immune system, how to diagnose the condition accurately, how long are the patients infectious, what are the effects of the drugs, and which body fluids can carry the virus.

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