Taiwan-U.S. COVID-19 vaccine may soon enter human trials

Researchers at Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp. (CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — A COVID-19 vaccine developed jointly by a Taiwanese biomedical company and the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been given conditional approval to enter human trials, Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Monday.

The “MVC-COV1901 vaccine injection” was found eligible to enter a phase 1 clinical trial by a panel of experts, on condition its developer Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp. (MVC) submits additional technical data on the vaccine, the FDA said.

Once the data is submitted and reviewed by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, MVC will become the third company in Taiwan to begin human trials for a COVID-19 vaccine, after Adimmune Corp. and United Biomedical, Inc., according to the FDA.

The vaccine is the first targeted at COVID-19 developed jointly by Taiwan and the U.S., said FDA official Wu Ming-mei (吳明美).

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

The vaccine candidate developed by Moderna injects messenger RNA (mRNA) into the human body, while the one developed by MVC injects proteins, both with the aim of triggering the production of antibodies, Wu said.

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine has already progressed to a phase 3 clinical study, Wu added.