The drugmaker behind one of China’s most promising coronavirus vaccine candidates is in talks to conduct late-stage trials globally as the race for immunization against Covid-19 intensifies. Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech is in discussion with regulators in other countries, and the World Health Organization, to launch phase III clinical trials in regions where the novel coronavirus is still spreading rapidly, CEO Yin Weidong said in an interview on Thursday.
“To evaluate whether the vaccine can give protection, we need to study the relation between disease incidence and vaccination,” Yin said. “You can’t do that when there’s no cases.”
With China having largely curbed its growth of new infections, its drugmakers will need to seek international cooperation to test their vaccine candidates in other countries — a task that may be complicated by tensions between China and some nations, especially the US, over how and where the virus originated.
Sinovac is one of three Chinese companies at the forefront of efforts to halt a pandemic that’s sickened over 3.8 million people worldwide and killed nearly 270,000. While there are over 100 vaccines in development globally, only around 10 have reached the crucial final stage of human testing.While declining to specify which countries they plan to hold trials in, Sinovac’s Yin hinted that the US is an ideal location. “The US has the most developed biotech industry, the most sophisticated regulatory framework and its epidemic is now the worst,” he said