Although it has not yet gone through all stages of development, a promising Chinese-designed COVID-19 vaccine, partially powered by Canadian technology, may be used in the military in China.

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The Chinese army has authorized the use in its ranks of the candidate vaccine “Ad5-nCoV”, announced Monday CanSinoBIO, the Chinese company which develops it in collaboration with a military research institute.

The precise use that the Chinese army wants to make of it is not known and it is not clear if it plans a vaccination campaign among its troops, which have some two million members.

Its use will however be reserved for the military. CanSinoBIO noted that it cannot yet guarantee that its vaccine will be marketed to the general public.

In China, Ad5-nCoV is currently undergoing phase 2 human clinical trials (in a three-part process).

” Good news “

According to virologist and professor at UQAM Benoît Barbeau, the country may be seeking to recruit soldiers for a next stage in clinical trials.

This can be seen as “good news” since China seems “fairly advanced” in the study of this vaccine. On the other hand, “we have to wait for the results to make sure that the vaccine is indeed working. “

If the efficacy and safety of Ad5-nCoV were demonstrated, Canada could be one of the first to benefit from it, believes this expert.

In fact, CanSinoBIO uses a technology that belongs to the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), a “cell line” called HEK293, to optimize the process by which the adenovirus that goes into its composition is cultivated. vaccine.

On May 12, the NRC announced a partnership with CanSinoBIO to enable biofabrication and clinical development of the vaccine in Canadian soil.

Tested in Nova Scotia

Health Canada then approved clinical trials piloted at the Canadian Center for Vaccinology at Dalhousie University, in Nova Scotia, which could be added to those carried out in China.

“It puts our foot in the door, that’s for sure, and I think we can be optimistic that, despite our tense relations at the moment with China, we would possibly have some kind of right to obtain the vaccine before the others, ”says Mr. Barbeau.

Dalhousie University and NRC declined our interview requests on Monday.

Around the world, nearly 150 experimental vaccines are in development.

A minority is tested on humans, but it is added almost every week. There were 17 on Monday.

– With information from AFP

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