BEIJING, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Chinese researchers have been racing against time to develop vaccines against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Here is a summary of the developments:
-- China adopts five technological approaches to develop COVID-19 vaccines, namely inactivated vaccines, genetic engineering subunit vaccines, adenovirus vector vaccines, nucleic acid vaccines, and vaccines using attenuated influenza virus as vectors. Most teams are expected to complete preclinical research in April.
-- Chinese researchers have developed animal models including humanized transgenic mouse models and Rhesus monkey models that have helped deepen the understanding of the novel coronavirus. Animal models help researchers identify transmission routes of the virus, screen possible drugs, and make sure the vaccines are safe and effective. Eight COVID-19 vaccines are currently under evaluation with animal models at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and some have been completed.
-- The recombinant vaccine developed by the Academy of Military Medical Sciences started its clinical trial on March 16. The trial will be carried out on volunteers aged between 18 and 60 to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.
-- The biotech company Stemirna Therapeutics has launched a program with the Shanghai East Hospital of Tongji University to develop an mRNA vaccine, which has the advantage of a shorter development and production cycle. The mRNA vaccine for COVID-19 is expected to enter clinical trials in mid-April.
-- China's research and development of vaccines is carried out according to laws and technical requirements, and Chinese researchers have maintained communication with the World Health Organization on the standard of vaccines, according to Zheng Zhongwei, director of the Development Center for Medical Science and Technology of the National Health Commission.
-- Under the premise of ensuring safety, effectiveness and accessibility, the emergency use of vaccines, as well as the emergency review and approval process, can be activated in accordance with laws, according to Zeng Yixin, deputy director of the National Health Commission.
-- Chinese companies are cooperating with their international counterparts in different approaches to vaccine development. A Chinese company is working with Inovio in the United States on a DNA vaccine; a Chinese company is cooperating with German pharmaceutical company BioNTech on an mRNA vaccine and a Chinese company is working with British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) on a recombinant protein vaccine.