Oxford researcher expects coronavirus vaccine results by Christmas

Grant Boone
November 22, 2020

As China rushes to keep up with the global race to find a coronavirus vaccine, a state-owned drugmaker is reporting promising results for a candidate after administering doses to almost a million people in the country.

"It was decided that the PMO-constituted Vaccine Task Force (VTF) will lay down the principles for emergency use authorisation while the National Expert Group On Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) should take the lead in setting the principles for advance market commitment, including vaccine pricing", a source said.

In August, Russia became the first country to register a COVID-19 vaccine, which was named Sputnik V. The vaccine is developed by Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in collaboration with Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).

China initiated the emergency use program in July. Drugmaker AstraZeneca is working with the university on the vaccine.

The department has also been authorized to make necessary recommendations to provide import licenses to the firms or institutions to import vaccines as per the ordinance.

"Our vaccines have been given to about one million people and we have not received any information about serious negative reactions", said Sinopharm's Chairman, Liu Jingzhen.

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Sinopharm's vaccines use an inactive form of the virus that is unable to reproduce in human cells to kick off immune responses in the body.

The ongoing phase 3 trial is assessing the vaccine for its effectiveness, or in other words, whether it can protect people from COVID-19. They have recruited approximately 60,000 people and blood samples of over 40,000 for their trials.

Earlier this week, two American drug-makers announced that their separate COVID-19 vaccine candidates were 95 percent effective against the disease.

Global trials are expected to begin in Uzbekistan late this month, followed by trials in Indonesia, Pakistan and Ecuador. On Wednesday, Pfizer said that its vaccine is 94.5 percent effective even among the elderly and has no side effects.

Dr Maheshi Ramasamy of the Oxford Vaccine Group added that the next step will be to see if the immune response means protection from the disease itself. Demand is clearly high, and several wealthy nations already have their pre-orders in place.

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