The scientists report that for the first time, one of the many manufactured COVID-19 vaccine has protected an animal, rhesus macaques, from infection by the novel coronavirus. The vaccine, an old formulation consisting of an inactive chemical version, has no other side effects on monkeys.
Researchers at Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech donated two different doses of their COVID-19 vaccine to a total of eight rhesus macaques.
The researchers found that the monkeys who received the highest dose of the vaccine did not have the virus in their lungs after a week. In contrast, the monkeys who didn’t receive the vaccine contracted the virus and developed severe pneumonia.
Concerns about the vaccine
Douglas Reid from the University of Pittsburgh, who is developing and testing COVID-19 vaccine in monkey studies, said the number of animals was too small to produce statistically significant results. His team also has a prepared document that increases concerns about the way the Sinovac team grew the stock of novel coronavirus used to examine the animals: It may have prompted changes that make it less reflective of the ones that affect humans.
Another concern is that monkeys do not have the most severe symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 as humans. SARS-CoV-2 seems to acquire deviations slowly. Indeed, the deviations may also be challenging. There is strong evidence that the virus does not mutate in a way that makes it resistant to the COVID-19 vaccine.
The company recently began phase I clinical trials in Jiangsu Province, north of Shanghai, with the goal of measuring safety and safety responses in 144 volunteers. An equal number of participants receive high and low doses or placebo. Due to the flat rate of transmission now in China, the company is investigating more effective tests in other countries that have been infected with the novel coronavirus.
In this pandemic situation, the most important thing is to make a vaccine, no matter what kind of vaccine it is, as soon as it’s safe and effective.