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Coronavirus vaccines being tested on animals

Updated: 2020-03-02

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(chinadaily.com.cn)

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A test tube with a 2019-nCoV label [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]

Candidate vaccines targeting COVID-19 (the disease caused by the novel coronavirus) are now being tested on animals in Anhui province, according to a press conference on epidemic prevention and control held on Feb 20.

"Researchers have been working around the clock to develop the vaccine and are testing its immune response on animals," said Pu Jiang, general manager of Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical Company -- the only COVID-19 vaccine developer in Anhui.

"Vaccine development is currently in the preclinical research phase," Pu said. "We have finished the vaccine design and next we need to assess its safety."

Animal testing is a very early step in vaccine development and there is still a long way to go before the vaccine is ready to be used on humans, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Pu said the company is also working to optimize its production process, production workshop, and quality assurance system in an effort to increase efficiency.

The company has over 10 years of experience in vaccine R&D, production, and sales, and signed a cooperation agreement with the Institute of Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences on Jan 29 to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine R&D and industrialization.

Pu said the company began developing the vaccine soon after the start of the outbreak. Nearly 100 of the company's employees worked throughout the Spring Festival holiday, and 532 employees, 95 percent of the total, have now returned to work.