Germany, UK Start Clinical Trials on Coronavirus Vaccines, Australia Calls for Investigation, China Rebuffs

As European countries begin clinical trials to test vaccines against the global coronavirus (Covid-19), Australia is demanding international support for a comprehensive investigation into the deadly virus and the resulting pandemic.

The epidemic has claimed more than 175,000 lives around the world since it appeared last December, while the number of infections has exceeded 2.5 million.

The German federal health authorities announced Wednesday that the Mains-based company Beontec, linked to the US Pfizer Laboratory, will launch its first clinical trial of a possible novel coronavirus (NCoV) vaccine.

The concerned authorities explained that these tests constitute the “fourth human test” in the world, in the context of the search for a vaccine against COVID-19.

The Paul Ehrlich Institute said on its website that the first stage will involve 200 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 55, adding that further stages of testing will be conducted on other volunteers in the coming months.

Human testing is an important stage in the development of safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19, both for German residents and abroad. the statement read.

Pfizer is also expected to conduct clinical trials in the United States, when approved by health authorities, according to Piontek, which has hitherto specialized in seeking cancer treatments.

According to the Paul Ehrlich Institute, these first trials in Germany aim to “determine the general susceptibility of the vaccine being tested and its ability to provide an immune response” to the virus.

There are currently 150 programs worldwide aimed at developing a vaccine for Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Oxford University will start its testing of a recently developed human vaccine against the new coronavirus on Thursday.

The British experience relies on volunteers paid by the government for 650 pounds sterling (about eight hundred dollars), according to some press reports.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that 42.5 million pounds (about $52 million) had been allocated to the trials of the two incubators developed by Oxford and Imperial College London.

International investigation

Meanwhile, the Australian government said Wednesday that Prime Minister Scott Morrison has asked for support for an international investigation into the novel coronavirus pandemic in telephone calls with US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Australia’s attempt to launch an independent review of the origin, prevalence and WHO response to HIV has aroused sharp criticism from China, accusing Australian legislators of receiving guidance from the United States.

China first notified WHO of the outbreak of novel coronavirus (novel coronavirus), believed to have originated in a market in Wuhan (central China), on 31 December last.

WHO officials arrived in Wuhan on 20 January after the virus spread in three other countries.

Morrison said on Twitter Wednesday that he had a “very constructive discussion” with Trump about the two countries’ response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and the need for economic reactivation.

“We also talked about WHO and working together to improve the transparency and efficiency of the international response to pandemics,” he wrote on Twitter.

Morrison’s office said the prime minister also spoke with German Chancellor Merkel and French President Macron on the role of WHO.

A government source told Reuters that Australia is considering whether WHO should be given powers similar to those given to international weapons inspectors to enter and investigate States without waiting for approval.

The White House strongly criticized China and the World Health Organization (WHO), and withdrew US funding for the organization. Leading Australian legislators have also questioned China’s transparency about the spread of HIV.

For its part, the Chinese embassy in Canberra said in a statement issued late Tuesday evening that lawmakers are acting on Trump’s directives and that “Australian politicians are eager to echo what the Americans have asserted and simply follow their footsteps in launching political attacks on China.”

However, Foreign Minister Marys Payne stressed that Australia had played a leading role in opening the investigation because it was “a liberal democracy and had a proven history of shaping constructive international processes.”

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