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China Military Creates World’s First Experimental Coronavirus Vaccine

A China-based vaccine company teamed with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in pursuit of producing the world’s first vaccine, earning the first approval for the military use of an experimental coronavirus vaccine.

PLA’s Major General Chen Wei and vaccine company CanSino Biologics announced Monday the vaccine passed two phases of clinical trials, claiming it was safe to use and that there was a “relatively high” immune response to the antigen. The vaccine has already been given to small groups of people. In phase 2 the clinical study is expanded and given to people who are the age and have the physical health for whom the new vaccine is intended.

The vaccine, which is called Ad5-nCoV, was developed at the Academy of Military Medical Sciences. It is approved for military vaccination for one year, but not yet for civilians. Ad5-nCoV could be added to PLA’s catalog of special drugs, in order to be administered in case of a major outbreak.

Developing the first successful vaccine comes with great financial reward. The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported clinical trials for 17 vaccine candidates. Seven are being developed in China. One vaccine is being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca is in its phase three studies.