China presents COVID-19 vaccines to the world

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, September 9, 2020
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Three COVID-19 vaccines developed by Chinese companies went on show at the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS). Representatives from the companies told that their aim is to heal the world.

Yin Weidong, chairman, president and CEO of Sinovac Biotech, poses for a photo holding CoronaVac, the company's COVID-19 vaccine, at the company's booth at the 2020 CIFTIS, Sept. 6, 2020. [Photo/]

The three inactivated vaccines have been a highlight of the international fair in Beijing, with their display booths proving a big hit with visitors.

According to the WHO, more than 30 COVID-19 vaccines have now entered clinical trials worldwide. Among them, nine are already in phase III clinical trials, of which four are being developed by Chinese scientists.

Zhang Yuntao, vice president of China National Biotec Group (CNBG), affiliated to Sinopharm, said that their two vaccines were developed by two biological products research institutes, in Wuhan and Beijing. They are currently undergoing phase III trials in several countries including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Peru, Morocco and Argentina.

Around 50,000 people will be vaccinated as part of the phase III trials, with 35,000 volunteers in 115 countries having already received the vaccination. "This proves the safety and efficacy of our vaccines," Zhang said.

"If the overseas clinical trials progress smoothly, the vaccine is expected to be available to the general public by the end of this year," he added.

CoronaVac, the candidate vaccine developed by Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac Biotech, is also currently undergoing phase III trials in Brazil, Indonesia, Turkey, Bangladesh and other countries.

Yin Weidong, the company's chairman, president and CEO, indicated that their research in Brazil is progressing quickly and they plan to vaccinate 9,000 people there. "We hope to get clinical results in October, and get it on the market before the end of the year," he said.

Sinovac has obtained more than 20 different strains of the virus in the United States, Europe and Middle East, which the vaccine immune serum has proven capable of neutralizing. Therefore, it can be speculated that the vaccine will be able to protect a large section of the global population.

"The inactivated coronavirus vaccine can be stored for one month at 37 degrees Celsius, and its validity period has initially been determined to be three years," Yin revealed.

Pearson Liu, director of brand management and public relations at Sinovac, told that their vaccine received approval from the Chinese government in July for emergency use on medical, health and border staff as well as those needing to travel overseas for work. He added that more than 3,000 Sinovac staff and their families have also received their vaccine.

CNBG's vaccines were also approved for emergency use in July, and the company was taking reservations at its CIFTIS booth for those looking to get vaccinated. Jia Meng, the company's spokesperson, explained that their vaccines had received particularly high levels of interest from Chinese students needing to go overseas to study.

In terms of manufacturing capabilities, CNBG has established high-level biosafety production facilities in two research institutes. The combined annual production capacity of the two laboratories will reach 300 million doses in the first phase. After the second phase is completed, the annual output will reach 1 billion doses.

COVID-19 vaccines on display at China National Biotec Group's booth at the 2020 CIFTIS, Sept. 6, 2020. [Photo/]

Sinovac launched its COVID-19 inactivated vaccine industrialization project at the end of March. It has now completed construction of a production lab in the Daxing Biomedical Industry Base in Beijing, which can deliver 300 million doses per annum.

Although it remains uncertain as to when the vaccines will eventually hit the market, Zhang Yuntao explained that many countries had already expressed interest. The CNBG executive added that they had received orders for a total of 500 million doses from dozens of countries.

Sinovac has also received large orders of intent. "The future application of vaccines will give priority to three types of countries,” Yin explained. “They are countries with severe outbreaks, countries with large populations, and countries without medical R&D capabilities and supplies." His company signed a deal and memorandum of understanding with Indonesian vaccine supplier PT Bio Farma on Aug. 20 to provide them with 40 million doses of semi-finished vaccines between November 2020 and March 2021.

While the price of COVID-19 vaccines has yet to be set, both companies told that they will be affordable for normal people.

Besides the three vaccines being shown at CIFTIS, other Chinese companies are also developing COVID-19 vaccines, with nine vaccines currently in various phases of clinical trials. The Chinese government has previously stated that after a vaccine is developed and put into use, it will be made available as a global public product to make China's contribution accessible and affordable to developing countries.

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