Amid the coronavirus pandemic, China continues to pursue its goal of becoming the first to produce and manufacture a working vaccine for the deadly virus. Beijing was found to be offering employees at oil companies that the government owns a chance to be among the first to get treated by a COVID-19 vaccine.
Unapproved human testing
According to The New York Times, PetroChina personnel were given a chance to try one of two vaccines that will be reserved for emergency use. The vaccine would be used by employees when they are away working on China's progressive infrastructure program.
A copy of the notice obtained and reviewed by the newspaper suggests that the workers will be used as experimental guinea pigs to test the effects of the unproven vaccines that the government is using in unofficial clinical trials.
The Chinese government wholly supported the efforts and emphasized that the data found from the trials showed the Sniopharm-made unproven vaccines did not have harmful consequences. However, it did not implicate the potential side effects the drugs could cause or that the tests did not have the approval of international regulators.
The chief executive officer of I-Mab Biopharma, a pharmaceutical firm in Shanghai, Joan Shen, expressed her concerns that the trials were ethical in testing the vaccines.
The move is considered a cornerstone in China's attempts to become the producer of the first coronavirus vaccine in the world as it deviates from regulatory methods and approval.
Companies in China are eager to collect and gather as much data as possible to provide safe and effective vaccines. In the Asian country, the Communist Party allows selective testing of vaccines conducted on a small number of its citizens.
The non-regulatory process trials are a double-edged sword as they pose a significant risk of setting scientific breakthroughs back and the potential for international political backlash.
One of the leading coronavirus vaccine researchers, Moderna, is set to begin the final testing phase of its COVID-19 vaccine, as reported by Forbes.
Pre-testing the vaccines
In line with multiple testings and research by various medical establishments, China confidently announced that it was conducting what it called "pre-testing" shots before the drug's approval for use in human testing.
The pharmaceutical firm stated it gave 30 doses of an experimental coronavirus vaccine to "special volunteers" before authorization was granted, allowing the human testing phase of the drug.
The company also uploaded a photo of its leaders who are said to have had a hand in the pre-testing period and captioned it with "Giving a helping hand forging the sword of victory."
Experts have previously stated that the world would require multiple vaccines in fighting against the deadly coronavirus. The primary reason for the need for various treatments is that a single medical company could not hope to produce billions of doses required to treat citizens from around the world.