CNBG donates COVID-19 vaccines to Wuhan; CanSinoBIO recruits Wuhan volunteers to test injection location
Published: Sep 24, 2020 07:48 PM

A domestically produced inactivated COVID-19 vaccine displayed at the fair Photo: Li Hao/GT

China National Biotech Group (CNBG), a Chinese company whose two inactivated candidate COVID-19 vaccines are in international Phase III clinical trials, donated 200,000 doses of the candidate vaccine to Wuhan, which will be used on medical staff on the frontline fighting against the novel coronavirus.

The donation was conducted at a forum on Thursday in Wuhan. It is part of bilateral cooperation to help Wuhan recover its economy and build the health industry, according to a CNBG statement. 

The CNBG candidates prove a high level of safety and efficacy in Phase I/II clinical trials and have obtained urgent usage by national authorities, CNBG chairman Yang Xiaoming said at the forum, noting that CNBG has taken the lead in the research and development of COVID-19 vaccines by entering the final stage of Phase III clinical trials for two inactivated COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

The two candidates are now undergoing Phase III clinical trials in more than ten countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Peru with more than 50,000 volunteers being vaccinated, according to CNBG.  

Two workshops of CNBG in Wuhan and Beijing have been licensed to produce the candidates, with a combined output of 300 million doses per year. The Beijing workshop will expand production to 600m doses per year, and the two plants will reach a production scale of 1 billion in the future, according to Yang. 

CNBG previously said their COVID-19 vaccines are expected to come onto the market by the end of this year. 

At the Thursday forum, Chinese renowned respiratory scientist Zhong Nanshan said that, after a vaccine is available, it would take one to two years to achieve mass vaccination. 

Zhong also predicted that the COVID-19 pandemic would continue to spread and develop this winter and into next spring.

Besides CNBG, two other Chinese vaccines companies CanSino Biologics Inc. (CanSinoBIO) and Sinovac Biotech Ltd. are also carrying out Phase III clinical trials on their COVID-19 vaccine candidates. In total, the three companies are working with more than 40 foreign countries on four candidate vaccines.   

A recombinant COVID-19 vaccine jointly developed by CanSinoBIO and a team led by Chinese military infectious expert Chen Wei was the first potential COVID-19 vaccine to enter clinical trials and its Phase I/II  clinical trials finished in Wuhan in early June. 

Phase III clinical trials on the vaccine are reportedly being held in seven foreign countries, including Russia and Pakistan, covering a total of 40,000 people.

The Global Times learned from the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University on Thursday that they are recruiting volunteers above 18 in Wuhan for the CanSinoBIO vaccine to find out the best incubation method and injection location, for example through the nasal cavity or muscle injection, to get the best immunoreaction. 

According to the hospital's recruiting notice, the recruiting started on September 19 and would run until September 30. As of 16 pm Thursday, 785 people have applied. 

The hospital said that they have recruited enough volunteers between 18-56 years old and now only recruit people above 56.