Promising Signs After Scientists Test Coronavirus Vaccine On Monkeys

By Bill Galluccio

April 28, 2020

A team of researchers at the Rocky Mountain Laboratory in Hamilton, Montana have reported promising results are they work with scientists and doctors around the world to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. The scientists injected six rhesus macaques with vaccine and said that after exposing them to the coronavirus for 28 days, none of the monkeys tested positive for the virus.

The team will begin human trials later this week, which they hope to finish by September. If the vaccine does prove to be safe and effective, there could be an abundant supply ready to be distributed.

The Serum Institute of India, which is the largest vaccine producer in the world, announced they would begin manufacturing the vaccine. They hope to start churning out five million doses per month to get ahead of the demand, and suggested they could double that production if necessary.

"We are not waiting for the trials to get over in September in the UK, and then start production here," Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of the Serum Institute of India, told the Times of India. "The decision — at our own risk and cost — has been solely taken to get a jump-start on manufacturing, to have enough doses available, if the clinical trials prove successful."

The news comes after a team of researchers from Sinovac Biotech, a privately-held Chinese company, had similar results testing monkeys and is beginning the first phase of clinical trials in China. In their study, the monkeys that were not given the vaccine all got sick when exposed to the coronavirus.

Photo: Getty Images

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