CanSino Biologics chose middle and lower-income countries over Western nations to test the effectiveness and safety of its novel coronavirus vaccine candidate as it expected the rich countries to easily cope with the disease that has infected more than 44 million people globally, its chairman said.
“For us to evaluate the effectiveness of a vaccine, we need to find high disease burden areas,” Yu Xuefeng, who is also the co-founder and chief executive officer of the Tianjin-based firm, told the Fortune Global Forum on Tuesday. Such burden was not expected in developed countries, given “their good health care systems,” he said.
The Covid-19 disease has killed 1.17 million since it was first detected in January in Wuhan in central Chinese province of Hubei, the original epicentre of the outbreak. China recorded 42 new cases on Tuesday, of which 20 were imported and 22 were domestic sources in Xinjiang, an autonomous region in northwest China.
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CanSino said in early September that it would conduct a phase-three clinical trial of its Ad5-nCoV vaccine candidate on some 40,000 participants in Russia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Mexico.
Mexico has the second highest number of cases 901,200 and a death rate of 10 per cent among the four countries, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Analysts say countries like Mexico have shown a willingness to host phase three trials to secure adequate supplies of a vaccine once it is approved and available. According to Oxfam, rich nations which account for only 13 per cent of the population, have bought more than half of the leading vaccine candidates.
The Ad5-nCoV vaccine candidate, jointly developed with Chinese military scientists, received government approval for military use in June this year.
The last participant in the trial is expected to get the jab at the end of next month, with the aim of completing the study by July 31 next year, according to clinicaltrials.gov run by the US National Library of Medicine.
US-based Pfizer, one of the front-runners in the race to commercialise a vaccine against Covid-19 in collaboration with Germany-based BioNTech, on Tuesday said it plans to apply for emergency-use authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration next month, once safety milestones are achieved.
Over 42,000 participants in their late-stage trials have been enrolled in multiple countries, with almost 36,000 having received the second jab.
Some 44 vaccine candidates were being evaluated clinically as of October 19, of which 10 were undergoing late-stage phase-three trials, according to the World Health Organization.
CanSino in March became the first Chinese firm to test a vaccine candidate on humans.
The company, which develops various vaccines, on Wednesday posted a net loss of 73.7 million yuan (US$10.9 million) for the year’s third-quarter and a loss of 175.9 million for the year’s first nine months.
A loss in the fourth quarter is also expected as it has yet to commercialise any product, it said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange.
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