On Wednesday, April 22, officials in Germany announced the approval of first clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine in the country. In a press release, the German regulatory authority Paul-Ehrlich-Institut said that a biotechnology company's vaccine program was authorized for human trials after careful consideration of the potential risks and benefits.
The trial would be tested on 200 healthy participants between the age of 18 and 55. This is the fourth authorized trial approved worldwide. As a part of the global program, several countries are involved in the development of vaccines globally. Several variants of the vaccine developed by BioNTech, a German biotech company, will be tested on the participants.
Additionally, in the second stage, the people who are more vulnerable to the coronavirus will be tested. The company said that the vaccine candidate named BNT162 is being developed with the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. Germany will be testing on the participants as the UK gears up to start the human trials on Thursday, April 23.
The press release by the institute said that: "Considering the serious consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is a significant step toward developing an efficacious and safe COVID-19 vaccine available in Germany and making it available worldwide as soon as possible."
The US on the path towards human trials
The vaccine candidate developed in Germany is also on the path to be tested in the United States. BNT162 will be tested once the regulatory approval for humans has been secured. There have been joint efforts to develop a vaccine as the coronavirus continues to spread across the world. The John Hopkins figures show that around 2.5 million people have been infected by the novel coronavirus.
Reports say that there are more than 80 teams across the world trying to develop a coronavirus vaccine. This also includes several which is in the clinical trial stage. Matt Hancock had previously announced the approval of human trial of a vaccine developed by the scientists at Oxford University. The trial is set to begin on Thursday. By mid-May, there are reports of around 500 people joining the programme. The British government has also pledged 20 million sterling to the research as well.
Earlier this month China approved two early-stage human trials for two experimental vaccines, says state media reports from China. It was also reported that several would be participating in the programme in China. The vaccine is being developed by Beijing-based unit of Nasdaq-listed Sinovac Biotech and by the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products. In the US, Moderna with the US National Institutes of Health has been working on human trials as well.