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Bypassing clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccine 'catastrophic,' says editorial

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-05-23 10:37


WASHINGTON - Bypassing clinical trials of a potential vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, would be "catastrophic," said an editorial published on Science Advances on Friday.

It is "vital to take time" to ensure any vaccine candidate's safety and investigate potential adverse effects, said the editorial by Douglas Green, deputy editor of the multidisciplinary scientific journal.

A vaccine able to trigger strong neutralizing antibody responses in clinical tests will still not be ready for widespread implementation without comprehensive safety tests, wrote Green, who is also an expert on immunology.

Vaccines must be examined for causing an effect known as antibody-dependent enhancement, whereby vaccine-induced antibodies that bind to the virus also attach to the body's cells, facilitating infection of these cells -- a concerning phenomenon that has been observed in vaccines against dengue, Ebola, HIV, and feline coronavirus, said the editorial.

Ethical accelerated testing on humans "should not be ruled out completely," but extreme risks must be weighed against potential benefits, it said.

There are currently 95 vaccines under development against SARS-CoV-2, with most expected to clear phase one, and two already moving into phase two trials, it added.

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