According to the director of the China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, the state has claimed that it could have a vaccine for ready for health workers to use against the coronavirus in an ’emergency situation’ by next September.
“PERHAPS in September we could have a vaccine suitable for an emergency, for example, if we have another emergency outbreak of the virus again … it could be used by special groups such as health workers,” Gao said in a interview with Chinese state television’s international channel.
The director who is also a virologist and epidemiologist explained that, if the disease breaks out again on a large scale, vaccines that are still in their second or third phase of clinical trials could be used for special groups such as doctors.
Gao estimated that the vaccines China is now testing may already be ready for use in healthy people by early next year, although everything is dependant upon the evolution of the research and development process.
In addition, Gao has indicated that at the moment in China there are two ‘candidate’ vaccines which are both undergoing clinical trials: one is an adenovirus vector vaccine and the other an inactivated vaccine, both find themselves in the second phase of clinical experimentation.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the time scale for a vaccine to be safe to use at a mass level is, typically, at least 12 to 18 months.
However, due to rapid scientific development and the urgency of the current situation, the first vaccines could be provided to health workers as an “emergency” use, said Gao, who insisted that the use of this vaccine on the masses would take a few more months.
China is currently testing up to five different vaccine options, the two whose clinical trials have entered the second phase have been developed by the Wuhan Biological Products Institute of the Chinese National Pharmaceutical Group and a Beijing laboratory by the Sinovac Biotech company.