Taiwanese firm teams up with U.S. to develop coronavirus vaccine

Pixabay image for illustrative purposes only
Pixabay image for illustrative purposes only

TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan-based Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp. (MVC) announced Monday that it has teamed up with the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a vaccine against COVID-19 coronavirus.

According to MVC, it signed an agreement with the NIH the previous day allowing it to obtain the candidate vaccine virus and related material developed by the U.S. health institution for potential use in humans to jump-start candidate vaccine development for COVID-19 in Taiwan.

The company said it will soon start animal testing in Taiwan, the results of which will be used to assess the possibility of applying it to clinical testing on humans and developing a new generation of vaccines.

It is MVC’s second cooperation with the NIH since 2015, when the two sides first collaborated to develop vaccines against dengue fever.

If all goes smoothly, MVC said it will introduce the NIH’s candidate vaccine viruses and material for follow-up human testing to manufacture effective vaccines to deal with the epidemic, which has no cure so far.

On Feb. 12, MVC applied for permission from the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration for an RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test kit that it developed to target COVID-19, which was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December.