(Yicai Global) March 16 -- Mice vaccinated with virus-like particles have produced specific antibodies, an important step in the quest for a Covid-19 vaccine, the director of the Shanghai Science and Technology Committee said today.
Shanghai institutions are expected to start clinical tests of an mRNA vaccine by the middle of next month, Zhang Quan said at a press briefing. Scientists have already begun preliminary testing of the biochemical and physiological effects of such drugs in primates.
Messenger RNA vaccines are a new technology that are a promising alternative to conventional vaccines. They use a sequence of mRNA, or the genetic code transcribed from the DNA of a target protein, which when introduced directly into the human body can stimulate the production of antigens and a specific immune response.
China is also researching the use of the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine in treating the Covid-19 virus, as part of the nation's emergency research projects dealing with the outbreak, Zhang said. Twenty-one hospitals are participating in clinical trials on 184 patients.
Fosun Pharmaceutical Group was yesterday granted exclusive rights to German drugmaker BioNTech's proprietary mRNA technology platform to develop and commercialize Covid-19 vaccines. Under the deal, Fosun Pharma will pay up to USD85 million in royalties, the Shanghai-based firm said.
Editor: Kim Taylor