China approves clinical trials for two inactivated COVID-19 vaccines
Updated 11:44, 15-Apr-2020

China approved clinical trials for two types of inactivated vaccines for COVID-19 on Tuesday, announced China's Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council. 

The vaccines are developed by Wuhan Institute of Biological Products of China National Pharmaceutical Group and a Beijing-based unit of Sinovac Biotech.

Yin Weidong, CEO of the Sinovac Biotech, who also participated in the research and development of the SARS vaccine, Inactivated Hepatitis A Vaccine, and New Human Influenza Vaccine (H5N1), told CGTN that they are working with China's disease control system on the next step of research plans. 

"The direction is clear, the application stage can be carried forward as soon as the first two clinical trials get approved. Once the clinical trial is successful, vaccines can be produced, and the production capacity can reach more than 100 million yuan a year," he added.

At the company's lab, he showed us the COVID-19 inactivated vaccine, which took hundreds of researchers' nearly three months to develop. At this lab, researchers are checking how much antibody is produced in the blood of animals that have been given the vaccine.

According to the World Health Organization, inactivated vaccines are made from microorganisms (viruses, bacteria, other) that have been killed through physical or chemical processes. After immunization, the vaccine antigens cannot replicate in the vaccinated person or cause disease. 

Chinese scientists have been racing to develop COVID-19 vaccines via five approaches – inactivated vaccines, genetic engineering subunit vaccines, adenovirus vector vaccines, nucleic acid vaccines, and vaccines using attenuated influenza virus as vectors.  

The adenovirus vector vaccine against COVID-19 developed by China's Academy of Military Medical Sciences has previously been approved and is currently in the second phase of clinical trials.

(CGTN's Liu Yang, Guo Meiping, Liu Hui, Zhao Jing contributed to the story.)