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Japan's KM Biologics begins human trial of COVID-19 vaccine candidate

Japan's KM Biologics begins human trial of COVID-19 vaccine candidate

People wearing protective masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walk along a sidewalk in a shopping district, Feb 28, 2021, in Tokyo. (Photo: AP/Kiichiro Sato)

TOKYO: Japan's KM Biologics Co said on Monday (Mar 22) it had started a human trial for its COVID-19 vaccine, becoming the country's third candidate to advance to clinical trials.

The first volunteer was injected with the inactivated virus vaccine known as KD-414, the company said in a release. 

KM Biologics, a subsidiary of confectionary maker Meiji Holdings Co, is also involved in the domestic production of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine.

The two-dose vaccine will be administered with a 27-day interval, KM Biologics said.

The study is a combined Phase 1 and Phase 2 trial involving 210 subjects to test the vaccine's safety and ability to trigger an immune response, the company said.

KM Biologics, based in Kumamoto prefecture, southern Japan, makes vaccines against influenza, hepatitis, and Japanese encephalitis.

Japan began its COVID-19 inoculation campaign last month with a vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, and imported from Europe.

But production problems and import hurdles have highlighted the need for Japan to boost its own vaccine production infrastructure.

AnGes Inc and Shionogi & Co were the first Japanese companies to move their COVID-19 vaccine candidates into human trials.

Source: Reuters/vc

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