Caixin
Nov 25, 2021 06:19 AM
CHINA

China Starts Clinical Trials of mRNA Vaccines as Covid Booster Shots

What’s new: Chinese Covid-19 developers will kick off the country’s first clinical trial of using a home-grown mRNA vaccine as a booster shot to protect against Covid-19.

Walvax Biotechnology Co. and partner Suzhou Abogen Biosciences will test the safety and efficacy of their jointly developed mRNA vaccine, known as ARCoV-005, as a reinforcement shot for people fully inoculated with China’s widely used inactivated-virus vaccines, according to a filing published Wednesday by Walvax in the country’s online clinic trial database.

The Phase 3b clinical trial of the shot will start Thursday in Liuzhou, south China’s Guangxi region, and will run until Dec. 31. The trial aims to recruit 2,000 people above age 18 for the tests.

Separately, another Chinese vaccine maker, Chongqing Zhifei Biological Products Co., published a study Tuesday on the use of its recombinant protein vaccine as a booster shot, the first of its kind in China.

The context: The developments are the latest step in China toward the long-discussed mixed use of Covid-19 vaccines for greater protection against the virus.

Walvax won approval from the Ministry of Science and Technology for the clinical trials about two weeks ago.

MRNA vaccines have shown higher efficacy as booster shots than inactivated-virus shots, according to some studies. China hasn’t yet approved any mRNA vaccine for public use, although the advanced vaccine technology has been widely used in the West.

The Chinese mainland has vaccinated nearly 80% of its more than 1.4 billion people and has started offering booster shots to people in several provinces and cities as new outbreaks of the delta mutation spread.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use.

Contact reporter Han Wei (weihan@caixin.com) and editor Bob Simison (hello@caixin.com)

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