Tue, 04/14/2020 - 22:05

Dear colleagues,


Because there is a lot of information on COVID in China and a part of it is not available in English, I asked one of our Chinese colleagues to comment on two issues that we have been discussing over the last week:

  1. Has clinical relapse been observed?
  2. What about the progress of the Chinese vaccine program?


Here is what he writes to us


I have checked the news on the relapse of COVID-19 in China online and translated them into English by software and modified a little bit manually. There are maybe some grammatical mistakes as follow. It seems that the relapse case is not many or rare in China  and the Chinese expert explained it in different meetings. You may have look at some of these I attached you below this email.


By the way, today China's government announced that two inactivated vaccines for COVID-19 have entered clinical trail I stage and an adenovirus vector vaccine has entered clinical trial II stage. Looks a good news and expect them successful ASAP.   


In the first attachment (translated from Chinese), you can read that the Chinese public is really concerned about the fact that PCR “blips” have been observed in some patients. However, I also understand that no clinical signs of relapse have been noticed, as we concluded also from the papers published in English. You can read that the Chinese doctors and scientist explain that SARS-CoV-2 is NOT behaving like Hep C (hypermutation and immune escape) nor like polio (long-term excretion of infectious virus).  It looks like SARS-CoV-2 is genetically more stable and induces protective immunity indeed.  However, they do advice firmly and repeatedly that discharged patients keep “social distance” and wear masks, not because they could be infectious to others but because they themselves might be temporarily more susceptible to other infections.     


The second attachment is the translation of a press conference of today where various themes on vaccines and treatment have been discussed with journalists, who sometimes ask critical questions.

  • It is apparent that Chinese researchers and companies are actively working on  at least 5 vaccine platforms: inactivated, life attenuated, recombinant, DNA and viral vectors (apparently not RNA).  Three candidates have entered the clinical phases: two inactivated in phase 1 and one  Adenovirus 5 vectored already entering phase 2 (see also https://www.precisionvaccinations.com/vaccines/ad5-ncov-covid-19-vaccine ).  Remarkably, besides recombinant protein and DNA, there is also a vaccine candidate, based on attenuated influenza in preclinical development.
  • There is also a mention on beneficial effects of mesenchymal stem cell therapy as an immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory therapy.  This study has been published in Ageing and Disease See http://www.aginganddisease.org/article/0000/2152-5250/ad-0-0-216.shtml. Clearly it is well documented, but remains to be confirmed in a formal trial.
  • Convalescent plasma has already been applied in a full-scale double blind placebo control trial.  The results are being analyzed, but “Preliminary results showed that convalescent plasma therapy was significantly better than the control group”
  • Monoclonal antibodies are under development.
  • A large part of the Q§A is devoted to the place of 3 traditional Chineses medicines Jinhua qinggan granules; Lianhua qingwen capsule and Xubijing injections. As I understand it, they have mainly been used in mild and moderate cases and/or in combination with “classic” drugs, referring to Chloroquine phosphate and others.  Reportedly, they have shown favorable effects and are promoted as "3 medicine 3 parties".


Obviously, these documents are not part of the “evidence-based” (let alone “peer-reviewed) literature, but I feel that it is interesting to share this insight from China.  To me, it shows that there is also a very lively debate of the media and the general public with authorities and scientists. Just like in Europe, the US and elsewhere, with fear and progressive understanding….


Best wishes,