The Story of the 12 Monkeys: The Successful Chinese Vaccine

Vaccine shows promise in monkey trials, says Chinese company

Source: Dawn

Four macaques who received a high dose of the vaccine had “no detectable” amounts of the virus in their lungs seven days after they were administered the pathogen.

Another four monkeys given low doses showed an increase in the viral load in their bodies, but appeared to have controlled the virus on their own, it said.

In contrast, four monkeys who were not given the vaccine fell ill from the virus and suffered severe pneumonia.

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The Muslim Times’ Chief Editor’s comment: In this day and age understanding bacteria and viruses and developing vaccines are national security issues. In my view sizable part of every country’s defense budget should be spent in these pursuits rather than making tanks and other weapons.

Sinovac published its results on the online server bioRxiv on April 19, three days after it began human trials, but its findings have yet to be peer-reviewed by the global scientific community.

Four macaques who received a high dose of the vaccine had “no detectable” amounts of the virus in their lungs seven days after they were administered the pathogen.

Another four monkeys given low doses showed an increase in the viral load in their bodies, but appeared to have controlled the virus on their own, it said.

In contrast, four monkeys who were not given the vaccine fell ill from the virus and suffered severe pneumonia.

Sinovac published its results on the online server bioRxiv on April 19, three days after it began human trials, but its findings have yet to be peer-reviewed by the global scientific community.

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Dr. Zia H Shah, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times and in charge of health section

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2 replies

  1. For the first time, one of the many COVID-19 vaccines in development has protected an animal, rhesus macaques, from infection by the new coronavirus, scientists report. The vaccine, an old-fashioned formulation consisting of a chemically inactivated version of the virus, produced no obvious side effects in the monkeys, and human trials began on 16 April.

    Researchers from Sinovac Biotech, a privately held Beijing-based company, gave two different doses of their COVID-19 vaccine to a total of eight rhesus macaque monkeys. Three weeks later, the group introduced SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, into the monkeys’ lungs through tubes down their tracheas, and none developed a full-blown infection.

    The monkeys given the highest dose of vaccine had the best response: Seven days after the animals received the virus, researchers could not detect it in the pharynx or lungs of any of them. Some of the lower dosed animals had a “viral blip” but also appeared to have controlled the infection, the Sinovac team reports in a paper published on 19 April on the preprint server bioRxiv. In contrast, four control animals developed high levels of viral RNA in several body parts and severe pneumonia. The results “give us a lot of confidence” that the vaccine will work in humans, says Meng Weining, Sinovac’s senior director for overseas regulatory affairs.

    The company recently started phase I clinical trials in Jiangsu province, north of Shanghai, which aim to gauge safety and immune responses in 144 volunteers. An equal number of participants will receive the high and low doses or a placebo. Although placebos are not typically used in phase I studies—which do not assess efficacy—Meng says this can help better evaluate whether the vaccine causes any dangerous side effects. The company hopes to start phase II studies by mid-May that have the same design but enroll more than 1000 people, with results due by the end of June.

    If all goes well, Meng says, Sinovac will seek to launch traditional phase III efficacy trials that compare the vaccine with a placebo in thousands of people. The company has also discussed joining international vaccine trials being organized by the World Health Organization (WHO). Given the low level of transmission now occurring in China, the company is considering still more efficacy trials in other countries being hit harder by the virus. “We can’t put all our eggs in one basket,” Meng says.

    https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/04/covid-19-vaccine-protects-monkeys-new-coronavirus-chinese-biotech-reports

  2. Chinese biotech Sinovac, one of many drugmakers seeking a COVID-19 vaccine, is leveraging aid from the People’s Republic of China to help it cross the finish line. But first, Sinovac will have to build out a massive new facility on the government’s dime.

    With financial backing from the Chinese government, Sinovac will erect a new vaccine production facility on 230,000 square feet of land to help speed the development of a novel coronavirus shot, Reuters reported Thursday.

    Sinovac reaped an $8.5 million low-interest loan from the Bank of Beijing to fund the development and will invest a similar amount of its own money into the project, the news service said.

    Sinovac’s hope is to produce 100 million COVID-19 shots per year if the vaccine proves successful. If those plans fall through, the drugmaker would pivot the facility’s use for other vaccines.

    A Sinovac official reportedly told Reuters that the government’s decision to dole out the sizable plot of land was made in about two weeks, where negotiations would normally take longer than two years.

    China’s speedy move to get Sinovac’s facility up and running comes one week after the drugmaker launched phase 1 clinical testing for its vaccine candidate.

    Two other firms, CanSino Bio and the state-owned Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, also received government approval to move ahead with trials. Earlier this month, CanSino’s candidate entered phase 2 testing based on preliminary efficacy data.

    In a primate study of Sinovac’s vaccine candidate posted earlier this week, researchers found the shot protected rhesus macaques from contracting the novel coronavirus three weeks after an initial injection.

    https://www.fiercepharma.com/manufacturing/china-s-sinovac-will-tackle-covid-19-shot-new-facility-backed-by-chinese-government

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