DURBAN – United States biotech firm Moderna is in a leading position in the global race to find a vaccine against the coronavirus, which has infected more than 13.2 million people and killed 570,000.
The company announced Tuesday that it would enter the final stage of human trials for its Covid-19 vaccine on July 27, after promising early results were published in a medical journal.
China’s Sinovac Biotech is expected to begin Phase 3 trials of Coronavirus Vaccine Candidate in Brazil. The Brazilian national regulatory agency, Anvisa, granted approval to a phase 3 clinical trial to test efficacy and safety of the inactivated Covid-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, Russian researchers announced over the weekend that they might be the first in the world to develop a Coronavirus vaccine, as they have completed tests on volunteers, though they have not shared their data.
According to Sechenov University Center for Clinical Research on Medications head and chief researcher Elena Smolyarchuk, study data showed the vaccine candidate’s effectiveness, reported Russian news agency TASS.
“The research has been completed and it proved that the vaccine is safe. The volunteers will be discharged on 15 July and 20 July. The trial participants will be monitored on an outpatient basis after being discharged,” said Smolyarchuk.
Commenting on Russian vaccine, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said: “We’re not yet at a point where we’ve got a ready vaccine. It is good news, yes, but it is work in progress. It is still early days. We haven’t come to a point where we can just go to Russia and source a vaccine for South Africans.”
Moderna had previously published interim results from the first stages of its trial, called Phase 1, in a press release on its website in May.
These revealed the vaccine had generated immune responses in eight patients, a result that was called “encouraging” by Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is co-developing the vaccine.
However, some in the scientific community said they would reserve judgment until they saw the full results in peer-reviewed form.
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