China's 1st mRNA COVID-19 vaccine to start Phase III trial in May: Media

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China's first messenger RNA (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccine will start its Phase III clinical trial in May, China National Radio (CNR) has reported.

The Phase II trial of the vaccine ARCoV, jointly developed by China's Suzhou Abogen Biosciences (AbogenBio), the Institute of Military Medicine under the Academy of Military Sciences and Walvax Biotechnology Co., Ltd, is running smoothly and drawing to a close, the CNR reported Tuesday, citing an exclusive telephone interview with Ying Bo, founder of AbogenBio.

The late-stage trial will begin next month overseas with close cooperation with Chinese clinical contract research organization Tigermed, the report said.

Starting from the third quarter of the year, the annual production capacity of ARCoV will reach 120 million doses, it added.

According to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, global COVID-19 cases and deaths are approaching 140 million and 3 million respectively.

So far, two mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for use in humans: one developed by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer in partnership with German company BioNTech, and the other by the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases together with U.S. biotech firm Moderna Therapeutics.

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