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Chinese firm Sinovac 99% sure COVID-19 vaccine will work: Report

The company published results of the vaccine named CoronaVac in the academic journal Science last month that protected monkeys from infection by the coronavirus.

May 30, 2020 / 03:42 PM IST
Representative image

Representative image

Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech has said that it is 99% sure that their COVID-19 vaccine will work.

The company reached stage 2 of the coronavirus vaccine trial with more than 1000 volunteers participating. The company is in preliminary talks to hold stage 3 trials - the final part of the process in the UK.

As per a Sky News report, Luo Baishan, a researcher at Sinovac, when asked whether he thought the vaccine would be successful.

"Yes, yes. It must be successful… 99% [sure]," he replied.

The company published results of the vaccine named CoronaVac in the academic journal Science last month that protected monkeys from infection by the coronavirus.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Due to low number of cases in China, the company is now looking for a different place for stage 3 trials.

The report quoted Helen Yang, senior director of investor relations, as saying: "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."

The company confirmed that construction of a production plant near Beijing was concurrently under way with an aim of being able to produce 100 million doses.

"It is our recommendation that it is not the whole population that gets the vaccine," Ms Yang said as per the report .

"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," she further said.

The stage 2 trials have months to run before Stage 3 can begin, Ms Yang pointed out that the vaccine won't be here soon.

"It's very hard to say, very difficult to say at the moment. There are uncertainties, but the data: so far, so good," she added.

"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," she said.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
Moneycontrol News
first published: May 30, 2020 03:42 pm

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