The Chinese effort began on March 16 and is expected to continue until the end of the year, according to a filing in the country’s Clinical Trial Registry, dated March 17.
“Volunteers of the Covid-19 phase one trial have already started receiving the vaccine,” a staff member involved in the government-funded project said.
There are currently no approved vaccines or medication for the new disease, which has killed more than 13,000 people worldwide so far.
An antiviral treatment called remdesivir, made by US-based Gilead Sciences is already in the final stages of clinical trials in Asia and doctors in China have reported it has proven effective in fighting the disease.
But only randomised trials will allow scientists to know for sure if it really helps or whether patients would have recovered without it.