First Japan-developed COVID-19 vaccine enters final stage of clinical trials

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Shionogi & Co. President Isao Teshirogi speaks at a press conference in Tokyo on Sept. 29.

Shionogi & Co. initiated the final phase of clinical trials in Vietnam for the COVID-19 vaccine it is developing, the company announced Monday.

COVID-19 vaccines are under development at other Japanese companies, including Daiichi Sankyo Co. and KM Biologics Co., but Shionogi is the first to enter the final stage of trials.

Shionogi aims to start supplying its vaccine by March, based on trial results from Japan and abroad.

In Vietnam, the onset prevention effect will be assessed in up to 10,000 cases. Shionogi plans to conduct trials in other Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines to collect data from a total of 50,000 cases.

Shionogi will start a trial in January in Japan to compare the performance of its vaccine with another company’s already-approved vaccine to determine the Shionogi vaccine’s efficacy.

The company hopes to quickly roll out its vaccine after the domestic and overseas trials are completed, and it plans to establish a supply structure to accommodate 30 million people.

The COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use in Japan are all produced by foreign companies, and expectations are high for a domestically developed vaccine to safeguard a stable supply.