SCIO briefing on white paper 'Fighting COVID-19: China in Action'

​The State Council Information Office (SCIO) held a press conference on June 7 to brief the media on its new white paper: "Fighting COVID-19: China in Action." June 10, 2020


Chinese scientists have been racing to develop a vaccine for the new coronavirus, and Chinese researchers have launched separately five clinical trials on humans. That's about half of all such trials globally at the moment. So my first question is: Does China plan to conduct such trials overseas, including Belt and Road countries? When China does eventually develop a vaccine, who will it prioritize the shots for, mainland China first, and then outside mainland China afterwards? Lastly, how will China make domestically produced vaccine global public good, as promised by President Xi Jinping, maybe which countries will get them first? The United States? The Belt and Road countries? How would that happen? Thank you. 

Wang Zhigang:

Thanks for the questions from Reuters. Every country has been concerned about the vaccine since the outbreak of COVID-19. The white paper introduced efforts in fighting the pandemic by utilizing science and technology. For example, there are questions that how scientific research, such as medicine and vaccine work, can be integrated into clinical treatments; and how big data and artificial intelligence can be utilized for pandemic control. According to people's understanding of pandemic responses in history, a vaccine currently remains critical to beating the new coronavirus. All countries have prioritized vaccine development in their battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we must understand that vaccine research and development is a very rigorous and complex scientific activity. It is a long and difficult task. Such scientific research is also full of challenges and uncertainties. Some scientists describe vaccine research and development as a carefully-rehearsed dance and not an impromptu performance. Consequently, we must prioritize safety, effectiveness and accessibility during vaccine research and development. Throughout human history, vaccine research and development has played a vital role, but sometimes this process requires taking a few unintended detours. 

A successful vaccine must be secure, effective and accessible. Vaccine research and development generally needs to go through several stages, including virus separation, vaccine construction in the lab, cell experiments, animal trials, clinical trials and then large-scale production. A vaccine must be registered with and approved by the drug administration before it enters the market. Vaccines in China are being developed in five categories, including inactivated vaccines, adenovirus vaccines, recombinant protein vaccines, live attenuated influenza vaccines and nucleic acid-based vaccines. Vaccine research and development and clinical trials both require international cooperation. We have been making efforts toward global cooperation on vaccine research and development, and Chinese scientists and their counterparts from other countries all wish to contribute to building a community with a shared future for mankind in terms of health. Next, once vaccine research and development and clinical trials are completed and China's vaccine is ready to be applied, we will strictly implement the commitment made by President Xi Jinping at the 73rd session of the World Health Assembly by making it available to the world as a public good. 

Thank you.

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