Researchers in China have begun the second phase of human trials for a possible coronavirus vaccine. The Institute of Medical Biology at Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (IMBCAMS) began phase two on Saturday, June 20, and are testing six possible vaccines on humans.

Approximately 200 participants have signed up to join the trial since the first phase began in May. The second phase will determine the vaccine’s dose, and will also evaluate whether the potential vaccine can trigger immune responses in healthy people while doing so safely.

According to IMBCAMS, it plans to use a plant dedicated to producing a COVID-19 vaccine within the year to prepare China’s future vaccine supplies.

Approximately a dozen vaccines are at different stages of human testing across the globe. None of the trials, however, have passed stage three clinical trials yet, which is a necessary step before a vaccine can be approved for sale.

Gao Fu, the director of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, said last month that specific groups of people with special needs may be able to make use of experimental vaccines by the end of the year.

COVID-19 was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019. Thus far, 8.81-million people have contracted the virus across the globe, and the death toll encompasses over 460 000 lives.

In South Africa, the Western Cape has the highest number of coronavirus cases, and has reached more than 50 000 cases. According to statistics released on the evening of Sunday, June 21, the province has 13 109 active cases, 35 559 recoveries and 268 268 tests have been conducted thus far.

It is estimated that the province will soon experience its peak. While it is impossible to pinpoint the exact date at which the province will reach its peak, health officials are experiencing increased pressure in hospitals.

At the same time, the economy is opening up gradually.

“Now is therefore the time to be extra vigilant to slow the spread,” said Premier Alan Winde.

Also read: Potential COVID-19 vaccine could be rolled out by September

Also read: Oxford study unveils dexamethasone as breakthrough drug in COVID-19 fight

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Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.