Scientists around the world are racing to develop Covid-19 vaccines on an accelerated timeline. Eight Covid-19 vaccines are now in Phase III clinical trials — the last phase of testing new medicines before they go to regulatory review — and half of them are made by Chinese companies.
This week we examine the five Chinese companies that have made the most progress on a coronavirus vaccine, including their owners and vaccine timelines.
Four Chinese Companies Have Covid-19 Vaccines in Phase III Clinical Trials
Vaccines, like all new medicines, go through several phases of trials before they can be approved as safe for use by the general public. First, the vaccines are developed in a lab and tested on non-human species such as mice or monkeys. Next, they go through small-scale Phase I and II trials, where they are tested on hundreds of people. Phase III trials test the vaccines on thousands of people to determine their effectiveness and safety.
|Covid-19 Vaccine Makers|
|University of Oxford/AstraZeneca||III|
|Sinopharm’s Wuhan and Beijing Institutes
*Sinopharm is developing two vaccines
|Gamaleya Research Institute, Russian Ministry of Health||III|
*Fosun is only licensed to develop and sell a BioNTech vaccine in China, and appears to be still in earlier clinical phases. Pfizer, licensed to distribute outside China, has already reached Phase III.
|Institute of Medical Biology||II|
|Anhui Zhifei Longcom||II|
Data: Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker (sourced from Milken Institute)
After Phase III, the vaccine goes to government regulatory bodies for evaluation.
Clinical trials normally take years. But Covid-19 vaccines are being developed on a much shorter timeline. That means many of the organizations developing these vaccines are compressing or combining some phases of the process.
Since Jan. 12, when Chinese scientists released the genetic sequence for the new coronavirus, Chinese companies and institutes have been at the forefront of Covid-19 tests and treatments. The five companies below are leading the China pack for vaccines.
Emma Bingham is a Boston-based editor for The Wire. Previously, she was editor in chief of The Tech at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. @emmapbingham
Hannah Reale is a staff writer with The Wire. Previously, she reported for the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, The West Side Rag, and her college newspaper, The Wesleyan Argus. @hannahereale