Sinovac Biotech, a Chinese biopharmaceutical company has said that it is 99% sure that their COVID-19 vaccine will work. Sinovac Biotech published results of the vaccine named CoronaVac in the academic journal Science last month that protected monkeys from infection by the coronavirus. In April the company reached Stage 2 of the COVID-19 vaccine trial with more than 1000 volunteers.These Stage 2 trials have months to run before Stage 3 can begin. According to Helen Yang, Senior Director of Investor Relations, Sinovac is in preliminary talks to hold Stage 3 efficacy trials – the final part of the process either in the UK or other European countries who are being hit harder than China by the virus at this time. Stage 3 trials cannot take place in China due to a shortage of cases. link . Meng Weining, Sinovac’s Senior Director for Overseas Regulatory Affairs said; “In this pandemic situation, the most important thing is to make a vaccine, no matter what kind of vaccine it is, that’s safe and effective as soon as possible” link. Construction of a production plant near Beijing is concurrently under way with an aim of being able to produce 100 million doses of CoronaVac.
Announced on the 25th May, Advantech Capital and Vivo Capital have invested $7.5m each in Sinovac subsidiary Sinovac Research and Development. The investment is said to convert into 7.5% of the total equity interest in Sinovac R&D. link. In preclinical studies, CoronaVac was found to be safe and provided protection to rhesus macaques monkeys. link
On the 28th May, GlaxoSmithKline, the world’s largest vaccine maker, reported plans to produce 1 billion doses of vaccine efficacy boosters for COVID-19 shots next year. This includes one by Sanofi, with whom GlaxoSmithKline signed a collaboration deal in April (see our blog on Sanofi and Lyme disease link). The company has also contributed the adjuvant to alliances involving Chinese biotech firms Clover Biopharmaceuticals and Xiamen Innovax, as well as the University of Queensland, Australia. link
Professor Adrian Hill, is a director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University where a vaccine has been given the green light to enter a third phase. Professor Hill describes the efforts to create a vaccine as a “race against the virus disappearing and against time”. link. The Jenner Institute began developing the vaccine in January, 2020 and Phase I trial in healthy adult volunteers began in April. More than 1,000 immunisations have been completed and follow-up is currently ongoing. The next study will enrol up to 10,260 adults and children and will involve a number of partner institutions across the country. link
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) , a number of other vaccines had entered human trials as of 23 April, and 77 others were in development. See the list of candidate vaccines developed against SARS-CoV. link