A candidate vaccine targeting the novel coronavirus has been tested on animals, according to a report Monday on news portal yicai.com, citing sources with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
News Agency Xinhua reports that the mRNA vaccine was co-developed by the CDC, Shanghai-based Tongji University School of Medicine and Stermirna Therapeutics Co., Ltd. The vaccine samples were injected into more than 100 mice Sunday, the report said.
This came just two weeks after the center successfully isolated the first new coronavirus strain on Jan. 24.
A CDC official warned that the animal testing is in a very early stage of vaccine development and there are still many steps to be taken before the vaccine is ready to be used on humans.
Testing on mice is only an initial screening of a candidate vaccine. After that there will be toxicity tests on larger animals such as monkeys to ensure the safety of the vaccine in human clinical trials, said the report, citing a researcher of Tongji University.
The development and production cycle of the mRNA vaccine is shorter than that of traditional vaccines.
A number of research institutes and companies around the world are stepping up efforts in developing vaccines and agents against the novel coronavirus.
Separately, Gulf News reported that a US health official has said that the development of a new vaccine to fight the novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) is “progressing well, with no glitches.” According to the side, work is underway with biotech company Moderna to develop the 2019-nCoV vaccine, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The announcement was made during a press briefing at the Department of Health and Human Services on Friday.
Moderna, Inc. is a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company focused on drug discovery and drug development based on messenger RNA (mRNA). The company creates synthetic mRNA that can be injected into patients to help them create their own therapies.
If successful, initial clinical trials will start within the next 10 weeks (or 2-1/2 months) to test the vaccine’s safety in a small group of humans, according to Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the US National Institutes of Health.
Xinhua News Agency / Gulf News