Taiwanese company joins forces with US to create Wuhan virus vaccine

Taiwan's Medigen Vaccine Biologics teams up with US NIH to develop vaccine for Wuhan coronavirus


(AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp. (MVC, 高端疫苗繼) on Monday (Feb. 17) said that it will cooperate with the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) to create a new vaccine for the Wuhan coronavirus.

The firm announced that it signed a contract with the NIH on Sunday (Feb. 16) that will enable it to obtain the candidate vaccine and related materials developed by the NIH for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), reported TechNews. In the near future, animal experiments will be carried out in Taiwan as a basis for evaluating human clinical trials and developing a new generation of vaccines.

Since 2015, the company has cooperated with the NIH on developing vaccines, including one for dengue fever. This year, MVC will team up with NIH to introduce a COVID-19 candidate vaccine and related biological materials developed by the U.S. agency to carry out follow-up animal experiments and clinical trials in Taiwan.

The goal of this effort will be to secure the early launch of a vaccine and improve domestic epidemic prevention capacity. If the vaccine proves effective, the company says it will move to the manufacturing phase as quickly as possible.

As the top research institution in the field of biomedicine in the world, the NIH invests nearly US$40 billion in pharmaceutical research and development every year. It has also invested in the research and development of a coronavirus vaccine platform for many years before successfully developing the COVID-19 candidate vaccine.

MVC has completed the development of an RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test kit to detect COVID-19, according to the report. On Feb. 12, it submitted an application with the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration for permission to use the new Class III In Vitro Diagnostic Device.