Development of Covid-19 vaccines making headway

A handout photo made available by the US Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC) shows a USAMRIID employee harvesting samples of the novel coronavirus that causes It would take a year to 18 months to fully validate any potential vacci
A handout photo made available by the US Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC) shows a USAMRIID employee harvesting samples of the novel coronavirus that causes It would take a year to 18 months to fully validate any potential vaccine.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

WASHINGTON • A clinical trial to evaluate a vaccine designed to protect against Covid-19 was to begin yesterday, the Associated Press reported, citing an unnamed US government official.

The first participant in the trial, which is being funded by the National Institutes of Health and taking place at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle, was to receive the experimental vaccine yesterday, AP reported.

It would take a year to 18 months to fully validate any potential vaccine, AP added, citing public health officials.

In a separate development, BioNTech struck a collaboration deal with Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical over the German biotechnology firm's rights in China to an experimental coronavirus vaccine.

Once regulators approve the vaccine, Fosun will market it in China, with BioNTech retaining rights for the rest of the world, the German group said, adding that it was aiming to start testing on humans from late next month.

BioNTech also said it was in advanced discussions with its existing partner Pfizer over the development of the vaccine outside China.

The United States pharmaceutical giant earlier this month identified BioNTech as a potential partner for the development.

Mainz-based BioNTech said it intends to initiate clinical testing for the compound called BNT162 in Europe, the US and China.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 17, 2020, with the headline 'Development of Covid-19 vaccines making headway'. Print Edition | Subscribe