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China greenlights clinical testing of first vaccine against COVID-19

The report notes that during pre-trial testing, the vaccine was deemed effective and safe

BEIJING, March 17. /TASS/. The Chinese government has approved the start of clinical testing of the first vaccine against the disease caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), China Central Television informed on Tuesday.

"Yesterday, at 20:18 local time [15:18 Moscow time — TASS], a group of researchers led by academician Chen Wei got the approval for clinical testing," China Central Television stated.

The report notes that during pre-trial testing, Chen Wei’s vaccine was deemed effective and safe.

Major General of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Chen Wei is academician at the PLA Academy of Military Medical Sciences. She specializes in biological and chemical protection.

On January 26, Chen Wei and her team of researchers arrived in Wuhan to establish the source of the coronavirus, to research the disease it causes and to develop treatment methods to combat the epidemic.

Development of the vaccine

Earlier, head of the Institute of Laboratory Animal Science of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences Qin Chuan informed that China had developed eight types of vaccines against the novel coronavirus. Some of them have already proven to be effective on animals, she added. The specialist noted that animal testing is currently underway on transgenic mice and monkeys. Currently, experts are studying possible side effects of the vaccines. According to Qin Chuan, researchers are trying to single out the most effective drugs against pneumonia, also detecting the main ways of COVID-19 transmission.

In late December 2019, Chinese authorities notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about an outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, central China. On March 11, WHO officially characterized the situation with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as a pandemic. The disease has spread to over 160 countries. According to latest reports, over 180,000 people have been infected with the virus globally, and about 7,000 have died. There are 93 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Russia.