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Japan’s first coronavirus vaccine trial begins

/ 02:50 PM July 02, 2020

A new coronavirus vaccine is being developed by a group including AnGes, Inc. and Osaka University. The vials shown here are meant for testing on laboratory animals. Courtesy of Osaka University via The Japan News

TOKYO — Osaka-based biopharmaceutical start-up AnGes, Inc. announced Tuesday that it has begun a clinical trial of a novel coronavirus vaccine, which the firm developed jointly with Osaka University.

It is the first novel coronavirus vaccine to reach the clinical-trial stage in Japan.

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The firm plans to vaccinate 30 people at Osaka City University Hospital and aims to put the vaccine into practical use after the spring of 2021.

According to AnGes, based in Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture, one person received the vaccine on Tuesday. The vaccine is believed to stimulate the production of antibodies to suppress the virus and prevent the disease from developing and becoming serious.

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In the vaccination program, participants are divided into two groups: 15 people who receive high doses of the vaccine and same number of people who receive less. Members of both groups will receive two doses of the vaccine at two-week intervals. The participants are healthy people aged 20 to 65.

The start-up plans to expand the trial to several hundred people from this autumn, after checking what side effects occur and whether antibodies have actually been produced.

The vaccine is a new type called a DNA vaccine, as the virus itself is not used and highly specialized equipment is not required to produce it. This type of vaccine can be produced in large quantities in a short period of time compared with conventional production methods. The firm said it will be able to produce enough vaccine for 200,000 people by the end of this fiscal year.

In Japan, Shionogi & Co., based in Osaka City, and KM Biologics Co., based in Kumamoto City, are developing other types of vaccines.

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TAGS: Coronavirus, coronavirus outbreak, coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19, COVID-19 Vaccine, Japan, Osaka University, vaccine
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