Ns News Online Desk: The first Phase 3 trial of a Chinese vaccine was launched in the Turkish capital Ankara as volunteers received jabs Wednesday Turkey began final Phase 3 trials of an experimental Chinese coronavirus vaccine Wednesday, Turkish media reported.
The vaccine will be administered to between 1,200-1,300 health workers over 10 days, with a second dose given 14 days after the first, broadcasters CNN Türk and Habertürk said. The results of the trial will be sent to the World Health Organization (WHO). The vaccine candidate will later be administered to volunteers with chronic diseases, with the aim of vaccinating 13,000 people, the broadcasters said. The Health Ministry did not comment on the reports.
Demirören News Agency (DHA) reported that the first volunteers, a group of health care workers, were vaccinated with an inoculation developed by Sinovac at Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine. Sinovac executive Helen Yang and Health Ministry Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board member professor Serhat Ünal were among those who observed the vaccination work. Ünal said it was “a historic moment.” “This is a vaccine tried on at least 10,000 people around the world so far,” he told DHA. Ünal said the trials had been approved after two months of evaluation by the Health Ministry’s ethics committees.
Meanwhile, he said another vaccine, which has been developed by Hacettepe University, will also be ready for animal trials soon. “The (Chinese) vaccine will be tested on more than 10,000 volunteers, and if it passes the tests, production will begin,” Ünal said.Yang told DHA that they had first launched Phase 3 trials in Brazil after development began in January, while another Phase 3 trial was underway in Indonesia.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced last week that Phase 3 work had begun on the Chinese candidate vaccine, as well as another developed by Pfizer. Russia’s application to conduct Phase 3 trials in Turkey for its experimental vaccine was being evaluated, while a decision would likely be made this week, he said.
China is administering experimental coronavirus vaccines to tens of thousands of its citizens to great international interest. China launched a vaccine emergency use program in July, offering three experimental shots developed by a unit of state pharmaceutical giant China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) and U.S.-listed Sinovac Biotech. A fourth coronavirus vaccine being developed by CanSino Biologics was approved for use by the Chinese military in June.
Turkey seeks to develop a vaccine itself, with three studies having gone beyond the animal testing phase so far. Authorities recently announced that a vaccine could be available in early 2021. Some 18 studies are underway in the country, eight for vaccine development and 10 for drugs. A government-backed platform coordinates the studies.