[Southeast University News Network, May 23] (Correspondent: Dong Xuan) In the evening of May 22, “The Lancet”, the world’s authoritative medical journal, published online the clinical data of COVID-19 vaccine trials on human bodies as achieved by the team of Academician Chen Wei from the Academy of Military Medical Sciences and Professor Zhu Fengcai, an alumnus of SEU from Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention. As indicated by the research results, the 108 volunteers engaged in the first-stage clinical study all had significant cellular immune responses, which are regarded as the first human clinical data in the world concerning COVID-19. Zhu Fengcai, an alumnus of SEU and serving as Deputy Director of Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, is the co-corresponding author and co-first author of the paper.
An effective vaccine is considered as a long-term solution to control the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, there are over 100 candidate vaccines for COVID-19 in the world. In a state of emergency of COVID-19 pandemic, Phase I/II clinical trials of a recombinant new coronavirus vaccine (adenovirus vector) conducted by alumnus Zhu Fengcai as the main researcher were launched in Wuhan. This vaccine was developed by Academician Chen Wei’s team.
Ad5-nCoV vaccine as evaluated in this trial was tested in human bodies for the first time. It used a weakened common cold virus (adenovirus) to deliver the genetic substances of the encoded SARS-CoV-2 seed proteins to cells, which then produce spike proteins and reach the lymph nodes. In the immune system, the lymph nodes would produce antibodies that could recognize the spike proteins and fight against the coronavirus. The experiment showed that a single dose of Ad5-nCoV vaccine can produce virus-specific antibodies and T cells within 14 days, making it possible for further studies.
Zhu Fengcai, a pioneer in translational preventive medicine in China, an alumnus of SEU enrolled in 1987 by the School of Public Health and now serving as Deputy Director of Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, has long been devoted to systematic research on the clinical protective efficacy of new vaccines and the immunological surrogate endpoints. It is the third time that he has taken the lead in completing the vaccine clinical trials in emergency. In 2009 when the H1N1 influenza epidemic was spreading globally, it was also Zhu Fengcai who accomplished the earliest clinical research on influenza A (H1N1) vaccine in the world. In 2014 when Ebola outbroke in West Africa, Zhu Fengcai and Chen Wei collaborated for the first time to successfully carry out theclinical study on recombinant adenovirus type-5 vector-based Ebola vaccine in West Africa. As a part-time professor employed by Southeast University, Zhu Fengcai guided several graduate students as the first tutor at school.
(Editor-in-charge: Hu Qiang, reviewed by: Song Yechun)