China Vaccinates Over 100,000 People with Experimental COVID-19 Vaccine

The Chinese government has vaccinated over 100,000 people with the experimental COVID-19 vaccine that is yet to pass Phase 3 trials. The nasal spray vaccine was developed by Xiamen University and Hong Kong University researchers with the backing of Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise. This is the 10th coronavirus potential vaccine from China to reach human trial stages.

Although most countries around the world doubt the efficacy and safety of Chinese vaccines, CanSino Biologics and the state-owned China National Biotec Group have taken considerable time to allay the fears of people that their products are safe and effective. They said their products have proven safe in trials without any considerable side effects.

AstraZeneca would have emerged as the first pharmaceutical company to manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine, but the company with headquarters based in the UK suspended Stage 4 human trials after a patient who tested the drug had spinal cord illness.

However, health analysts blame China for trying to take the shortcut to vaccine success without concluding its Phase 3 trials. It should be noted that under Chinese vaccine law, the government could approve the emergency use of vaccines and other drugs in cases of national or global health emergencies. The Chinese government has stated that front-line health workers and customs personnel will be first in line to receive the vaccine because they are most at risk of getting infected.

As it stands, there are a total of 221 potential coronavirus vaccines from pharmaceutical companies around the world, and only nine of them have reached Phase 3 human trials. Out of the nine vaccines that are in Phase 3, four are from China. To this extent, only China and Russia have expressly announced that their COVID-19 vaccines are ready for administration. The US government has also expressed the desire to inoculate high-risk groups with coronavirus vaccines before November.

The rate of coronavirus infection in China has slowed considerably after it peaked in February, and they have demonstrated to the world that they are capable of bringing the disease under control with drastic protocols. The United States continues to have higher incidents with health officials fearing a second wave. But analysts say China could afford to complete the Phase 3 trial of their most promising vaccines given that they have considerably brought the pandemic under control.

“The irony is that in China, at the moment infection rates are really very low,” said John Moore, an immunologist at Weill Cornell Medical College. “They are actually in a situation where they could afford to wait for the outcome of an ongoing phase 3 trials, understand the safety and efficacy properly, without compromising their population.”