As the deadly coronavirus continues to wreak havoc across the globe, China, the country where the outbreak first took place, has conducted the world's first COVID-19 vaccine test on animals. Chinese scientists said the animal trail for a COVID-19 vaccine has shown positive results.
Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech has developed COVID-19 vaccine - PiCoVacc, which was injected into rhesus macaques, a type of monkey originating in India, according to a report on May 6 in Science magazine. China claimed the first animal trial has proven to be very effective in monkeys.
This is being considered as the world's first animal trial report for a coronavirus vaccine.
The researchers at Sinovac Biotech used a very typical method to prevent the virus from infecting life forms- by putting a crippled virus into an animal's body, forcing its immune system to produce antibodies. The antibodies will also kill normal viruses.
According to the report, the researchers isolated 11 viruses from 11 patients, among whom five were from China, three were from Italy, one was from Switzerland, one was from the UK and one was from Spain.
Researchers gave two different doses of the vaccine to eight rhesus macaques. Three weeks later, the group introduced the novel coronavirus into the monkeys' lungs and none developed a full-blown infection, which suggests that the vaccine worked. Meanwhile, the monkeys that were not treated with PiCoVacc caught the virus and developed severe pneumonia.
Animal trials showed that a purified inactivated COVID-19 vaccine candidate (PiCoVacc), that the researchers developed can induce novel coronavirus neutralizing antibodies in mice, rats and non-human primates. These antibodies potently neutralized 10 representative novel coronavirus strains, indicative of a possible broader neutralizing ability against the virus strains circulating worldwide, according to the report.
A research team led by Qin Chuan, the director of the Institute of Laboratory Animal Sciences, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, and those from Beijing-based company Sinovac Biotech jointly authored the report.
Currently, seven countries have put their vaccines for clinical trials-- four by China, one by the US, one by the UK and one co-developed by the US and Germany. Also, Italy and Israel have claimed of developing a vaccine.