Coronavirus vaccine: Germany approves first human trials


200 healthy people aged between 18 and 55 to receive several variants of vaccine
A clinical test of a Covid-19 vaccine in Germany has been approved, according to the country’s Federal Institute for Vaccines.
The trial will see 200 healthy participants between the age of 18 and 55 receive several variants of the vaccine, developed by German biotech company BioNTech, as scientists examine its efficacy in providing immunity against the virus.
Additional tests will be conducted on more people, including those at higher risk from the disease, in a second stage.
BioNTech said it was developing the vaccine candidate, named BNT162, together with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.
BNT162 is also set to be trialled in the US, once regulatory approval for testing on humans had been secured there.
The race is on to develop a vaccine that will help contain the spread of coronavirus, which has so far killed more than 177,000 people and infected 2.5 million, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.
There are 86 teams across the world currently working to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, including a handful at the clinical trial stage.
Germany follows the UK in approving a human trial after health secretary Matt Hancock announced scientists at Oxford University will begin testing a vaccine on people this Thursday.
Around 500 volunteers are expected to enrol in the programme by mid-May, with the British government pledging £20m to the research.
In China, early-stage human tests for two experimental vaccines were approved earlier this month, according to state media Xinhua.
The Chinese vaccine candidates are being developed by a Beijing-based unit of Nasdaq-listed Sinovac Biotech and by the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, an affiliate of state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group.
In March, authorities gave the green light for another clinical trial for a vaccine candidate developed by the country’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences and HK-listed biotech firm CanSino Bio.
And in the US, drug developer Moderna has begun human tests for their vaccine with the US National Institutes of Health.

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