Canada's COVID-19 clinical trials drop over China's refusal to ship potential vaccine
Ottawa/IBNS: The collaboration between a Chinese company CanSino Biologics and a Halifax research team aiming to carry out Canada's first clinical trials of a potential COVID-19 vaccine was abandoned due to the escalation of tension between Canada and China, media reports said.
Vaccines are urgently needed by the federal governments across the world but their use in the general public is subject to the safety and efficacy of clinical trials shown in thousands of human volunteers.
CanSino Biologics' vaccine, called Ad5-nCoV, was already being run through human trials in China with promising results.
In May this year, the federal government of Canada announced a partnership between Canada's publicly funded National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and CanSino to allow NRC to scale up the technology needed to produce sufficient numbers of potential vaccines to protect Canadians.
The Canadian Centre for Vaccinology at Dalhousie University was supposed to work with CanSino to run the first Canadian clinical trials for a possible COVID-19 vaccine.
But CBC News learnt from NRC that the Chinese customs failed to approve the potential vaccines' shipment to Canada.
"Subsequent to signing [the agreement], the government of China introduced process changes regarding shipping vaccines to other countries," the NRC said in a statement. "The process is not clear to the NRC, but CanSino does not have the authority to ship the vaccine at this time."
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)