CHINESE researchers working on a Covid-19 vaccine say they are “99 per cent” sure it will be effective.
The Beijing-based biotech company Sinovac currently has its coronavirus vaccine in stage two trials, with more than 1,000 volunteers taking part in the experiment.
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The company also said it is in preliminary talks to hold stage 3 trials – the final part of the trials process – in the UK.
Luo Baishan, a researcher at Sinovac, told Sky News when he was asked if the test would be successful: “Yes, yes. It must be successful… 99% [sure].”
Sinovac published results in the academic journal Science last month which showed the vaccine, called CoronaVac, protects monkeys from infection by the coronavirus.
The company said it was hoping to conduct stage three trials of the vaccine outside of China because the low number of Covid-19 cases in the country made testing difficult.
Helen Yang, senior director of investor relations, told Sky News: “We are speaking to several European countries and I think did discuss with the UK as well.
“Currently it’s a very preliminary stage for the discussion.”
However, despite the trials it said it was going ahead with production even as the tests continued.
It’s hoped mass production will begin if the trials are successful and the vaccine gets regulatory approval.
A commercial plant is already under construction in Beijing and it is hoped 100million doses can be produced.
It is currently building a commercial plant in another part of Beijing with the objective of delivering 100 million doses.
“It is our recommendation that it is not the whole population that gets the vaccine,” Ms Yang said.
“We are discussing this and recommending it to other countries as well.
“We are firstly targeting high-risk groups, for example, health workers or senior citizens, who may have a higher level of fatality rate.
“I think that will be the starting point. To be frank, the vaccine needs to be produced lot by lot.”
Asked whether she was sure of success, Ms Yang said: “It’s very hard to say, very difficult to say at the moment. There are uncertainties, but the data: so far, so good.”
Despite the glimmer of hope it is unlikely any vaccine will be ready any time soon.
The stage two trials will run for some months before stage three can start.
Even then the vaccine will have to be approved for use.
A global race is currently underway to provide a vaccine for Covid-19.
Drugmaker AstraZeneca, has teamed up with researchers at Oxford University, and said the UK would be the first country to get the UK would be the first country to get access to the vaccine it is developing.
Ms Yang told Sky News: “We are already considering not only China but also the whole world, not only for conducting a trial but also how to supply a solution for countries including China and outside China.”
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