Several vaccines and generic drugs across the globe have been tested on coronavirus patients to find a cure for the widespread virus that hampered the world. In a search for a vaccine to fight the virus pandemic, China has recently approved early-stage human tests of two experimental vaccines while AstraZeneca Plc or AstraZeneca had declared to start a clinical trial of its cancer drug Calquence.
China’s Clinical Trials of Vaccines
On Tuesday, April 14, 2020, Xinhua state news agency reported that the Chinese government has approved to conduct tests for two experimental vaccines to the coronavirus infected patients in a view to combating the new coronavirus that killed over 100,000 people worldwide.
It was reported that the vaccines were being developed by a Beijing-based unit of Nasdaq-listed Sinovac Biotech, and by the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, an affiliate of state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group.
In March, the Chinese government had agreed with another clinical trial for a coronavirus vaccine candidate developed by military-backed China’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences and HK-listed biotech firm CanSino Bio. The trial was executed shortly after US drug developer, Moderna had been reported to have begun human tests for their vaccine with the US National Institutes of Health.
Meanwhile, Zhang Boli, president of the Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, told reporters, the virus epidemic could continue for up to two years and urged people to continue precautions such as wearing masks and avoid large gatherings. Despite we wanted an urgent solution, he said, “We have to make preparations for the long term.”
AstraZeneca’s Trial of Cancer Drug
On Tuesday, AstraZeneca too announced to start conducting a clinical trial of its cancer drug, Calquence to assess whether it can control the exaggerated immune system response associated with COVID-19 infection in severely ill patients.
Calquence (acalabrutinib), which belongs to a class of drugs called Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitors, has the ability to suppress autoimmune diseases and is currently used to treat patients suffering from blood cancers. Moreover, the drug has already been approved for the treatment of adult patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in the US and several other countries.
Louis Staudt, chief of the lymphoid malignancies branch at the National Cancer Institute, explained, “Given the well-documented role of the protein BTK in regulating inflammation, it is possible that inhibiting BTK with acalabrutinib could provide clinical benefit in patients with advanced COVID-19 lung disease.”
AstraZeneca said that it would be evaluated from the trial about the effectiveness and safety of the drug and examined whether it could reduce the level of mortality and the need for assisted ventilation in patients with life-threatening COVID-19 symptoms. Earlier this month, AstraZeneca and its domestic rival GlaxoSmithKline PLC had agreed to set up a testing laboratory for COVID-19 patients associated with Cambridge University.
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