CanSino Biologics of China is in talks with Russia, Brazil, Chile and Saudi Arabia to launch a phase III test of its experimental vaccine for COVID-19, one of its founders said Saturday.
China’s success in reducing COVID-19 infections has made it more difficult to conduct large-scale vaccine trials, and so far only a few countries have agreed to work with it.
«We are contacting Russia, Brazil, Chile and Saudi Arabia (for the Phase III trial) and it is still under discussion,» Qiu Dongxu, can’s executive president and co-founder of CanSino, said at a conference on antiviral drug development in Suzhou, eastern China.
Qiu said its Phase III tests are likely to begin «very soon» and that the company plans to recruit 40,000 participants.
Its COVID-19 candidate, Ad5-nCov, became the first in China to go on to human testing in March, but is falling behind other potential vaccines in terms of progress in the trials.
Two experimental vaccines developed by Sinovac Biotech and one unit of the National Pharmaceutical Group of China (Sinopharm) are already approved for Phase III trials.
Qiu said his Phase II trials, involving 508 people, have yielded «much better» results than those in Phase I in terms of vaccine safety and the ability to trigger an immune response, but did not reveal specific evidence.
The executive said his new factory under construction in China will allow it to produce 100 million to 200 million doses of coronavirus vaccines per year by early 2021.