Cautious optimism as Hong Kong scientists test Covid-19 vaccine

  • The vaccine could go to the clinical trial phase within weeks
  • It stops coronavirus from being able to infect human cells, a key part in the process
Susan Ramsay |

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A coronavirus vaccine is in the early stages of testing, and scientists are cautiously optimistic.

At last, some good news. Scientists from Hong Kong and Macau have reported that they have made a vaccine that stops Covid-19 from being able to infect human cells.

The vaccine stops an important part of the infection process, they say. It could be a game changer. 

Johnson Lau Yiu-nam, adjunct professor in the department of applied biology and chemical technology at Polytechnic University, said their vaccine could go to the clinical trial phase “within a few months, or even weeks”.

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The vaccine produced an immune response in mice within seven days of exposure. The scientists do not know how long this immunity will last and whether it will cover any mutations in the virus.

Lau said they would need to recruit anywhere between 10,000 and 40,000 volunteers for the trial, but did not say where they would be recruited from.

The team, which also involved researchers from universities on the mainland, was already in talks with a pharmaceutical company in Taiwan to mass produce the vaccine once it was successful in clinical trials.

Their findings were published in the science journal Nature last Wednesday.