CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan's COVID-19 vaccine could begin human trials this fall: VP

05/22/2020 10:23 PM
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Vice President Lai Ching-te (center)/Image from Lai
Vice President Lai Ching-te (center)/Image from Lai's FB page at www.facebook.com/chingte

Taipei, May 22 (CNA) A vaccine Taiwan's National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) is developing for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will enter human trials as early as this autumn, Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) disclosed Friday.

Lai made the announcement in a Facebook post after visiting the NHRI's Animal Biological Safety Level 3 (ABSL-3) laboratory in Chunan in Miaoli County to see how work on a vaccine was progressing.

In April, NHRI President Liang Kung-yee (梁賡義) revealed that a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the national health research institution had produced promising results in mice.

The NHRI has been working on developing four kinds of vaccines against COVID-19 since February, with the development of a peptide vaccine progressing the fastest, Liang told CNA.

Peptides are a chain of amino acids that are the building blocks that form proteins.

In his post, Lai likened the COVID-19 fight to a baseball game, describing Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) as the starting pitcher who keeps opponents in check for much of the game.

The NHRI will be the closer, because the moment it successfully develops drugs and vaccines against the coronavirus, the game will be over, Lai wrote.

Lai also praised the NHRI for its previous vital roles in helping the government contain the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and that of avian influenza in 2005.

(By Wen Kuei-hsiang and Elizabeth Hsu)

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