by Xinhua writer Tan Jingjing

WASHINGTON, June 6 (Xinhua) -- Global cooperation is of vital importance in speeding up COVID-19 vaccine development, and making the best vaccine available throughout the world, leading U.S. immunologists told Xinhua in recent interviews.

A virtual global vaccine summit was hosted by Britain earlier this week, to raise funds for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) to ensure vaccine accessibility worldwide.

The funds will be directed to accelerating the research, development, production and distribution of vaccines for COVID-19.

Leaders from more than 30 countries and heads of international organizations, including the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO), attended the summit, and pledged their support for vaccinations.

"Global cooperation is very important, so that the best vaccine is chosen and is available throughout the world," Stanley Perlman, professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Iowa, told Xinhua.

Dozens of research groups around the globe are racing to create vaccines as COVID-19 cases continue to grow rapidly worldwide.

According to the WHO website, there were over 130 COVID-19 candidate vaccines by June 2, with 10 candidate vaccines in clinical evaluation and 123 candidate vaccines in preclinical evaluation.

In the United States, the mRNA vaccine -- jointly developed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases subordinate to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and U.S. biotech firm Moderna -- started its clinical trial in March.

The DNA vaccine developed by U.S. company Inovio Pharmaceuticals has also entered the clinical testing phase.

Recently medical journal The Lancet has published the results of the trial of China's COVID-19 vaccine, an Ad5 vectored COVID-19 vaccine, the first such vaccine to reach phase 1 clinical trial.

According to the results, China's vaccine trial has been found to be safe, well-tolerated, and able to generate an immune response against SARS-COV-2 in humans.

"The vaccine seemed to be well tolerated at the three doses tested, and vaccine recipients generated potent immune responses against the coronavirus as measured both in tests of neutralizing antibodies and T-cells," Robert Schooley, a professor of medicine with the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health at the University of California, San Diego, told Xinhua.

He stressed the need for global cooperation in vaccine development, citing China's Ad5 vectored vaccine.

According to Schooley, it may well be that an initial vaccination with an adenovirus type 5 platform vaccine, like the China one, will be the best strategy. But to translate the response into durable immunity, a booster vaccination of a different type will be required.

"It is unlikely that the same research groups will have the best-in-class vaccine in multiple platforms, since each platform requires substantial specific expertise," he noted.

"Cooperation across companies, countries and research groups will be essential to get these different vaccine approaches into the same patients. This has been critical in the AIDS vaccine effort," Schooley told Xinhua.

In addition, a successful Phase 3 vaccine trial need to be in a place where people in the community are getting infected often enough. "It would be hard to envision a successful Phase 3 vaccine study in China right now, because so few people are becoming infected naturally," he said.

"It will be necessary for China to test the effectiveness of the vaccine in other countries. Without a cooperative global approach, this can't happen," he said.

"We are all in this together," Schooley told Xinhua. Enditem



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