Press Releases in Hong Kong

HKSAR govt provides HK$20m for HKU’s nasal spray vaccine

Hong Kong Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee listens to a reporter's questions during a news conference in Hong Kong, Nov 11, 2020.
(VINCENT YU/AP)

HONG KONG -The Hong Kong government has provided HK$20 million to support the clinical trials of a COVID-19 nasal spray vaccine developed by the University of Hong Kong, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee said Wednesday.

Replying to a query at the Legislative Council, Chan said around $20 million from the Health and Medical Research Fund under the Food and Health Bureau was provided to support the first phase safety clinical trial of the vaccine VectorFlu™ ONE.

Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee said around $20 million from the Health and Medical Research Fund under the Food and Health Bureau was provided to support the first phase safety clinical trial of the vaccine VectorFlu™ ONE

“The government has all along welcomed vaccine development in Hong Kong. The fund will also provide additional resources in a timely manner to support local research and development so as to tie in with the government's anti-epidemic efforts,” Chan said.

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The Department of Microbiology of HKU have partnered with Xiamen University and Beijing Wantai Biopharmaceutical Company to develop the intranasal vaccine, which is the 10th vaccine candidate from China to proceed to the crucial stage of human testing. 

“As far as the above nasal spray vaccine is concerned, if the third phase clinical trial is to commence, the research team needs to recruit at least 10,000 volunteers as research participants,” Chan said. 

She said the trial also needs to be conducted in places where there is continuous transmission of COVID-19. 

“As the population size of Hong Kong is small and the epidemic situation is very mild, we cannot fully support clinical trials of such scale. Hence, the research team needs to recruit research participants from outside of Hong Kong,” she said. 

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Chan said the research team will first recruit around 100 voluntary research participants in Hong Kong, 30 of whom have started the first part of the trial. The second part will commence in July 2021.

She said the government also provided support last year to the HKU research team in its application for a permit to enable cross-province and cross-boundary transport of vaccines. 

“Before the vaccine can be authorized formally for emergency use, it needs to pass various tests, including conducting first to third phase clinical trials and obtaining the relevant certification, in order to ensure the safety and efficacy of the vaccine,” Chan said.

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