Chinese COVID-19 Vaccine Could Be Ready by December

By Tom Glover, August 21, 2020

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A Chinese pharmaceutical company recently developed a potential COVID-19 vaccine that could be ready to hit the market by the end of December, priced at under RMB1,000 (USD144) for two doses.

Announcing this promising news in the long, attritional battle against the pandemic, Liu Jingzhen, chairman of the China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), said that the marketing review procedure will start after overseas phase III clinical trials are completed. 

The vaccine has begun late-stage testing on humans in the United Arab Emirates in order to get proof of efficacy for regulatory approval, Guangming Daily reported on Tuesday.

Liu goes on to state that “It will not be priced very high. It is expected to cost a few hundred yuan for a shot, and for two shots it should be less than RMB1,000.”

He also suggested that not all of China’s 1.4 billion citizens will need to be vaccinated, saying that students and city workers are a priority, while those living in smaller, rural areas may not need to be vaccinated at all.

Meanwhile, another Chinese vaccine candidate has received a patent. It has been co-developed by the Academy of Military Sciences and CanSino Biologics Inc., a high-tech biopharmaceutical company, according to a report by People’s Daily.

While the National Intellectual Property Administration approved the patent on August 16, some Chinese netizens mistook the news for meaning that the vaccine had already come to market. 

With more than 200 vaccine candidates in development around the world, among them 20 currently undergoing human clinical trials, there is a lot of pressure on governments and vaccine makers to deliver a successful candidate.

However, public health experts are still cautioning the public that vaccines need to be put through the appropriate clinical trials before approval. “Having a vaccine... and proving that a vaccine is safe and effective are two different things,” said US National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci in a recent interview on ABC News.

Fauci expressed his doubts over the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine claimed by Russia earlier this month. The country’s Ministry of Health issued a registration certificate for the vaccine candidate after only testing 76 people, Science reported.

[Cover image via Pixabay]

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