One million people receive experimental Chinese COVID-19 vaccine

"Older adults are a priority group for COVID-19 vaccination, because they are at increased risk of severe disease, but we know that they tend to have poorer vaccine responses", Dr Maheshi Ramasamy, Investigator at the Oxford Vaccine Group and Consultant Physician, explained.

A leading Chinese vaccine maker said it has commenced phase-3 clinical trials for its COVID-19 vaccine and is planning to recruit 29,000 volunteers across the world.

According to details, the vaccine that is undergoing the third phase of a clinical trial in Pakistan has shown positive results with 95 percent recovery rate of the patients who were about to be shifted on a ventilator. "The Lancet Infectious Diseases" journal published the results of the initial trial. It uses a modified cold virus called adenovirus, and it carries a little piece of the coronavirus into the body to train the immune system to recognize and attack it. The human cells will then create proteins to develop antibodies against the coronavirus.

The Oxford study was briefly suspended in September because of an unexplained illness in a volunteer.

Late-stage, or phase-three, trials are ongoing to confirm the findings, researchers said, and to test whether the vaccine protects against infection with SARS-CoV-2 in a broad range of people, including people with underlying health conditions. The phase 3 trial was briefly put on pause before it restarted late last month. The companies, Moderna and Pfizer, have said they will seek emergency use authorization for their vaccines from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

We suspect that we will need as much help as we can get from PAHO which, fortunately, has been quite proactive in partnering with the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Union and other financial institutions and donors to secure the funding needed for lower income countries in the region to join COVAX.

At the speed at which things are developing on the vaccine front, we don't have much time to, as Jamaicans on the street would say, lay-lay.

"We're still waiting to get to the point where we can do the analysis to just work out how well the vaccine can protect people, and we're getting ever closer to that", he told journalists.

Hai Do wrote this story for Learning English.

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