China’s CanSino single-dose COVID-19 vaccine co-developed by Beijing’s top military bio-warfare expert ‘shows 65.7 per cent efficacy’
- CanSino Biologics co-developed the jab with army scientist Chen Wei’s team
- Ms Chen, 54, is a leading specialist in genetic engineering vaccines in China
- The drug is ‘65.7% effective’ in preventing symptomatic cases with one dose
- It also had a 90.98% success rate in stopping severe disease in global trials
- The treatment is now close to becoming China’s third successful COVID shot
A single-dose COVID-19 vaccine developed by Chinese firm CanSino Biologics and a team led by Beijing’s top military bio-warfare expert is reported to show 65.7 per cent efficacy in preventing symptomatic cases.
The drug also demonstrated a 90.98 per cent success rate in stopping severe disease in an interim analysis of global trials, according to Pakistan’s health minister who posted the figures on Monday.
Chen Wei, a Major General of China’s People’s Liberation Army, headed a team of scientists from the Chinese military to work on the inoculation with CanSino Biologics (CanSinoBIO), a biotechnology company based in Tianjin and listed on Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Chen Wei, 54, is a leading specialist in genetic engineering vaccines in China. She is pictured being interviewed by Chinese state broadcaster after being sent to Wuhan in January, 2020
Ms Chen led a team of scientists from the Chinese military to work on the inoculation with CanSino Biologics (pictured), a biotech company based in Tianjin, a city in eastern China
A volunteer is pictured receiving an injection from a medical worker from CanSino Biologics for a late stage-trial against the coronavirus disease in Oaxaca, Mexico, November 6, 2020
Ms Chen, 54, is a leading specialist in genetic engineering vaccines in China.
She was at the centre of conspiracy theories about the origin of COVID-19 early last year after some reports claimed that she had been appointed to take over Wuhan Institute of Virology, which carries out research into coronaviruses.
Chinese state media reported on Monday that Ms Chen was appointed by the Chinese military to co-develop the single-jab regimen, leading her team from the Institute of Bio-engineering of the Academy of Military Medical Sciences.
She is also known in the country as the ‘terminator of Ebola’ for directing specialists to create a vaccine against the fatal virus.
Speaking of fighting the novel coronavirus, Chen told state media from Wuhan in January last year: ‘The epidemic is like a military situation. The epicentre equals to the battlefield.’
The positive data from the final-stage trials of CanSinoBIO’s vaccine moves the treatment a step closer to becoming China’s third successful shot for the disease.
Ms Chen was appointed by the Chinese military to co-develop the single-jab regimen, leading her team from the Academy of Military Medical Sciences. A picture shows Chinese President Xi Jinping visiting the Academy of Military Medical Sciences in Beijing on March 2, 2020
Although COVID-19 vaccines from Chinese developers have shown lower protection rates than some Western ones, and no detailed study results are publicly available yet, they have already been approved in several developing countries battling a surge in coronavirus infections.
The CanSinoBIO vaccine is being tested in Pakistan, Mexico, Russia, Argentina and Chile, according to clinical trial registration data, and the company has supply deals with some of those countries, including Mexico.
In a statement from February 1, CanSinoBIO said 40,000 participants had received the vaccine during its phase III clinical trial carried out at 78 research centres in five countries.
Pakistan’s health minister, Faisal Sultan, had said that the country could receive ‘in the range of tens of millions’ of the vaccine under an agreement with the Chinese firm.
Hassan Abbas, head of the CanSinoBIO’s trial at AJ Pharma in Pakistan, said it has already applied to the government for permission to import the vaccine.
Pakistan’s health minister, Faisal Sultan, had previously said that the country could receive ‘in the range of tens of millions’ of the CanSinoBIO vaccine under an agreement with the Chinese firm. The picture shows a COVID-19 vaccine counter in Peshawar, Pakistan, on February 03
‘The initial set of vaccines will come in vials already filled, but we hope in the future to get them in the form of concentrates from CanSino, and do the filling here in Pakistan,’ he told Reuters.
The efficacy of the shot is based on analysis of 30,000 participants and 101 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the minister said on Twitter, quoting data from an independent data monitoring committee.
It was not immediately clear whether the study also looked into the vaccine’s efficacy against new and highly transmissible variants first found in South Africa, Britain and Brazil.
No serious safety concerns have been raised in the study, Sultan said.
In the Pakistani subset, efficacy of the CanSinoBIO vaccine at preventing symptomatic cases was 74.8 per cent and 100 per cent at preventing severe disease, Sultan added.
CanSinoBIO was not immediately available for comment.
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