China Reportedly Testing Coronavirus Vaccine on Thousands in Rush Before End of Safety Trials

China has reportedly been rushing through testing a coronavirus vaccine on thousands of people before the end of safety trials. According to Vox, a state-owned pharmaceutical company — Sinopharm — has been developing the two leading vaccine candidates in China, and the company confirmed that it has given the vaccine to thousands of individuals. This comes ahead of the company’s phase 3 clinical trials concluding.

In addition to the two vaccines that Sinopharm is working on, a third vaccine is being developed by the privately owned Chinese drugmaker Sinovac Biotech. The Phase 3 trials, which are technically still going, are so medical scientists can survey a vaccine candidates effectiveness at preventing coronavirus from spreading in a community. The Phase 3 trials began in July, but it is was not clear when they may be complete. Notably, Sinopharm initiated phase 3 trials for its two vaccine candidates in the United Arab Emirates in July, with one of the vaccines beginning trials in Morocco and Peru in August.

In the United States, there were hopes that a vaccine might be available by the fall. However, Dr. Anthony Fauci — head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — recently told CNN's Jim Sciutto that a COVID-19 vaccine "likely" will not be ready by October. "It is conceivable that you could have it by October, though I don't think that that's likely." Commenting further on the timelines that have been previously shared Fauci said, "These are all guesstimates."

Sciutto asked Fauci — who is the top virologist in the nation — if he was skeptical about getting the vaccine himself — or allowing his family to get it — if it was approved for use before late-stage trials are finished, and he replied, "Not at all, Jim. I will look at the data and I would assume and I'm pretty sure that that's going to be the case, that a vaccine would not be approved for the American public unless it was both indeed safe and effective, and I keep emphasizing, both safe and effective. If that's the case, Jim, I would not hesitate for a moment to take the vaccine even myself and recommend it for my family."