Chinese coronavirus vaccine proven to develop antibodies against the virus

Engineer hard at work in a Chinese lab.
Nicolas Asfouri/AFP via Getty Images

Many American companies are making rapid progress on coronavirus vaccines, but a Chinese company seems to be catching up, and maybe even surpassing them.

Chinese company CanSino Biologics report early success of their new vaccine. The vaccine, called Ad5-nCoV, began its Phase 1 trials in March. They recently reported their findings and data. Many American companies, such as Moderna and Pfizer, have also finished their Phase 1 trials.

The data, as reported in The Lancet, is published for peer review. This is significant because other vaccines that are working, such as the Moderna and Oxford University ones, aren’t. The complete data regarding the results are also behind closed curtains.

CanSino Biologics tested the vaccine on healthy volunteers, aged from 18 to 60, and were seperated in three groups of 36. The different groups were given different dosages, which ranged from low, medium, and high. These numbers are good for a first phase trial. Moderna did their first phase trials with 8 individuals. CanSino is currently in Phase 2 testing, with 500 patients. This includes those who are over the age of 60. This is going to be key considering the vulnerability of older patients to COVID-19.

Some of the volunteers reported fevers, headaches, and fatigue. The symptoms seem to become more strainging the higher the dosage is. For example, one person from the high dosage group reported a severe headache. These reactions to the vaccine didn’t surpass 48 hours.

The amount of neutralizing antibodies increased and became more apparent the higher the dosage. The volunteers in the low and middle dosage groups took much longer to develop the antibodies as opposed to the higher dosage group. However, they were still helpful in the body’s fight against the virus.

Despite this good news, it will still take a lot more testing and research to have the vaccine ready. Much like American estimates, CanSino gave a timeframe in the first half of 2021. This is in line with American guesses of 12-18 months from January 2020.

The race between companies is ramping up. There are over a hundred vaccines in development. Yet, the key countries in this race are America, Germany, Britain, and China. It may be a good thing that all of these countries are making vaccines, as experts state more than one would be needed to meet demands.

All the good news won’t change the fact that the vaccine is unlikely to be ready by the end of this year.

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