Third Taiwanese COVID-19 vaccine candidate authorized for human trials

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Another COVID-19 vaccine candidate has been authorized to begin human trials. 

Another COVID-19 vaccine candidate has been authorized to begin human trials.  (CNA photo)

A COVID-19 vaccine candidate jointly developed by Taiwan's Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp. and the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been authorized to begin human trials, Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Wednesday (Sept. 30).

This makes it the third vaccine in the country to receive approval.

The MVC-COV1901 vaccine injection received conditional approval for clinical testing on Aug. 31 and was given full approval on Wednesday after Medigen submitted technical documents for additional review, the FDA said.

The first stage of the trial, to test for safety, is expected to take place at National Taiwan University Hospital with about 45 healthy participants, Pan Hsiang-ying (潘香櫻), a specialist in the FDA's Medicinal Products Division, told CNA.

Medigen will become the third company in Taiwan to begin human trials for a COVID-19 vaccine, after Adimmune Corp. and United Biomedical Inc.

After Medigen received conditional approval last month, FDA official Wu Ming-mei (吳明美) said the vaccine is the first targeted at COVID-19 to be jointly developed by Taiwan and the U.S.

According to Wu, the NIH has partnered with two companies -- Medigen and the U.S.-based Moderna Inc. -- to develop two different types of COVID-19 vaccine.

The vaccine developed by Moderna injects messenger RNA into the body, while the one developed by Medigen injects proteins, both of which are aimed at triggering the production of antibodies, Wu said.

Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine has already progressed to a phase 3 clinical study, which evaluates both safety and efficacy, Wu added.