Adimmune gets conditional green light to trial COVID vaccine on humans (2020/08/18)

Vaccine maker Adimmune has received conditional approval to test its COVID vaccine candidate on humans. Phase I trials can start once safety conditions for the human subjects are met, according to the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration. Adimmune is the first in Taiwan to arrive at this stage of vaccine development. Overseas, researchers are making much faster progress, though no vaccine candidate has completed Phase III trials so far.

Adimmune has been given conditional approval to start the first phase of vaccine clinical trials. It’s become the first in Taiwan to reach this stage. It’s also pushed Taiwan higher up the leaderboard of the global vaccine race. But in the eyes of physician Huang Li-min, Taiwan’s progress is still too slow.

Huang Li-min
NTU Hospital pediatrician
In terms of vaccine development, Taiwan truly is a bit behind other countries. Because other countries have already reached Phase II trials. Some of them are already preparing for Phase III. With the current vaccine production technologies, getting past Phase I safety tests is no problem. It’s relatively easy to do.

The FDA has granted a green light for human trials, contingent on the submission of safety data. Researchers plan to enroll some 60 healthy subjects at National Taiwan University Hospital, for Phase I trials designed to overlap with Phase II. It’s not a sure thing that the candidate will reach the market next year. Currently at least three other biotech firms – Medigen Vaccine Biologics, Enimmune, and United Biomedical Inc Asia – are awaiting a decision on their own applications to start clinical trials.

Huang Li-min
NTU Hospital pediatrician
Around March of next year, we’ll probably still be relying on public health protocols to fight the epidemic. It’s not very likely that we’ll have vaccines in time for the upcoming wave of infection – the wave that will come in the winter. There’s nothing to be done about that. But we’re not alone in this. I think that 80% of countries in the world will not be able to get hold of a vaccine.

Dr. Huang is not optimistic that a vaccine will reach the market in 2020. He urged the public to strictly adhere to the government’s health protocols. He added that even if a vaccine arrived late, it’s better late than never.