China Approves Domestically-Developed Ebola Vaccine
The China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA), has now approved nationally developed Ebola vaccine developed by the Academy of Military Medical Sciences and CanSino Biologics INC.
The approval makes China the third country to develop a vaccine against Ebola following the Russia and USA.
In late 2016, Russia approved a vaccine against Ebola developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, the first such vaccine in the world. The country expects to have a second vaccine registered by the end of the year, the Russian news agency TASS reported.
At the same time, U.S. pharmaceutical giants Merck & Co., Johnson & Johnson and British peer GlaxoSmithKline PLC are all developing vaccines against the disease. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said it would invest $84 million to help the two American vaccine makers complete the steps needed for approval from the country’s Food and Drug Administration, Reuters reported.
Ebola causes a hemorrhagic fever that is fatal in about half of reported cases. The virus is transmitted between humans via direct contact with the skin and bodily fluids such as blood. It can also be spread via contact with materialscontaminated by these fluids.
An outbreak of the virus — which was first discovered in 1976 — in West Africa in 2014 and 2015 caused an estimated 11,310 deaths from 28,616 cases in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. During the outbreak, the virus also spread to Europe and the U.S., according to the World Health Organization.
The vaccine can stimulate immunity against the Ebola virus in both human cells and bodily fluids, the CFDA said in a statement.
The vaccine, named recombinant Ebola virus disease vaccine (Adenovirus type 5 vector), is available in powder, and, compared with liquid vaccines in the other two countries, is more stable. This highlights its advantages in transportation and use in tropical areas such as Africa.
“It will promote research and development of vaccines for major infectious diseases in China,” the CFDA said. “It demonstrates a major advance in China’s ability in the technological innovation of biomedicine.”
Li Lanjuan, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a professor in infectious diseases at Zhejiang University, said the approval of the vaccine shows China has greatly increased its ability for research and development of vaccines.
“Clinical tests conducted on Africans in China showed the vaccine was safe and effective,” said Li, who led the clinical tests at Zhejiang University in 2015.
Clinical tests for the vaccine also were completed on 120 Chinese in Taizhou, Jiangsu province, in February 2015.