China's first COVID-19 mRNA vaccine approved for clinical trials

ARCoV, a novel coronavirus Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine candidate jointly developed by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Academy of Military Sciences, Suzhou Abogen Biosciences and Walvax Biotechnology Co., Ltd, was officially approved by the National Medical Products Administration of clinical trial on June 19, according to CCTV's report. 

This is the first COVID-19 mRNA vaccine to be approved for clinical trials in China.  

Since the outbreak of the COVID-9 pandemic, the Academy of Military Medical Sciences of PLA has been researching on COVID-19 vaccines. 

Their study shows that the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine not only induced high levels of neutralizing antibodies in mice and crab-eating macaques, but also induced protective T cell immune responses. 

The experiment on crab-eating macaques shows that vaccine-immunized animals can withstand the attack of novel coronavirus, effectively prevent virus replication and pulmonary disease progression, which shows good protective effects. 

Domestic mRNA vaccines have three advantages, according to the project leader and researcher of PLA Academy of Military Sciences, Qin Chengfeng.

First, the selection of vaccine antigen target is more precise, and the vaccine is safe. 

Second, the core raw materials and equipment have all been localized, which makes it possible to expand the production capacity rapidly.

Third, the vaccine can be stored at room temperature for a week, which means the cost of cold chain is low, making it easier to achieve mass vaccination.

It is reported that the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine has been completed in accordance with the requirements of clinical trials of multiple batches. Phase I clinical trial will be officially launched in Shulan Hospital in Hangzhou.

(Cover image: The mRNA vaccine experiment. /VCG)