China, US authorise human trials on coronavirus vaccine
BEIJING China has authorised clinical trials on its first vaccine developed to combat the coronavirus, according to a report in the ruling Communist Party's People's Daily.
The researchers are led by Major-General Chen Wei, of China's Academy of Military Medical Sciences, it said.
Details in the Chinese clinical trial registration database show that a "Phase 1" test that will examine whether the experimental shot is safe in humans aims to recruit 108 healthy people to take part, until Dec 31.
The trial will be conducted jointly with Hong Kong-listed biotech company CanSino Biologics, the database showed.
Separately, the first human trial to evaluate a candidate vaccine has begun in Seattle, US health officials said on Monday.
But it may be another year to 18 months before it becomes available.
The vaccine, mRNA-1273, was developed by US National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists and collaborators at biotech company Moderna.
"The open-label trial will enrol 45 healthy volunteers ages 18 to 55 over approximately six weeks," the NIH said. "The first participant received the investigational vaccine today."
There are no approved vaccines or treatments against Covid-19, which has infected more than 175,000 people across the world. It originated in Wuhan, China, late last year.
It has claimed 7,000 lives, according to an AFP tally, mostly in China followed by Italy.
"Finding a safe and effective vaccine to prevent infection... is an urgent public health priority," said Dr Anthony Fauci, head of infectious diseases at the NIH.
"This Phase 1 study, launched in record speed, is an important first step toward achieving that goal."
The Seattle trial will study the impact of different doses delivered by intramuscular injection in the upper arm, with participants monitored for side effects such as fever. - AFP, REUTERS