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China gives its first COVID-19 vaccine approval to Sinopharm


BEIJING (#Reuters) – #China approved its first COVID-19 vaccine for general public use on #Thursday, a shot developed by an affiliate of state-backed pharmaceutical giant #Sinopharm, as it braces for greater transmission risks over the winter.

#No detailed efficacy data of the vaccine has been publicly released but its developer, #Beijing #Biological #Products #Institute, a unit of #Sinopharm subsidiary #China #National #Biotec #Group (CNBG), said on #Wednesday its vaccine was 79.34% effective in preventing people from developing the disease based on interim data.

The approval, announced by the #National #Medical #Products #Administration, comes after the #United #Arab #Emirates this month became the first country to roll out the vaccine to the public, and as #Pakistan announced a 1.2 million dose purchase deal with #Sinopharm.

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#While #China has been slower than several other countries in approving COVID-19 vaccines, it has been inoculating some citizens for months with three different shots still undergoing late-stage trials.

#China launched an emergency use programme in #July aimed at essential workers and others at high risk of infection, had administered more than 4.5 million doses as of #Dec. 15 using at least three different products – two developed by CNBG and one by #Sinovac #Biotech.

#While the efficacy of the #Sinopharm shot trails the more than 90% success rate of rival vaccines from #Pfizer #Inc and its partner #BioNTech SE and #Moderna #Inc, it points to progress #China has made in the global race to develop successful COVID-19 vaccines.

#China has at least five vaccines, developed by #Sinovac, CNBG units, #CanSino #Biologics and the #Chinese #Academy of #Sciences, in late stage trials, underscoring its efforts to develop a homegrown vaccine to challenge #Western rivals.

#President #Xi #Jinping has pledged to make #China’s vaccines a global public good and it has won several large supply deals with countries including #Indonesia and #Brazil – the most populous countries in #Southeast #Asia and #Latin #America respectively.

WATCHING THE DATA

The efficacy and safety data of #China-made vaccines is being closely watched by many developing countries as they have limited early access to shots developed by #Western drug makers and are looking for alternatives from #China and #Russia.

“China’s approval could boost the credibility of the vaccine,” said #Dong-yan #Jin, a professor at the #University of #Hong #Kong.

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“But if the vaccine wants to take a share in the global market, especially in developed countries, more data is necessary.”

A #Sinopharm executive told a briefing detailed data would be released later and published in scientific journals at home and abroad.

FILE PHOTO: A booth displaying a coronavirus vaccine candidate from #China #National #Biotec #Group (CNBG), a unit of state-owned pharmaceutical giant #China #National #Pharmaceutical #Group (#Sinopharm), is seen at the 2020 #China #International #Fair for #Trade in #Services (CIFTIS), following the COVID-19 outbreak, in #Beijing, #China #September 4, 2020. REUTERS/Tingshu #Wang

#While #China has kept new outbreaks of the coronavirus under control, it is ramping up the emergency programme to contain the risks over the winter. The virus emerged a year ago in a market in the central city of #Wuhan.

The #South #China #Morning #Post newspaper reported that #China would vaccinate as many as 50 million people from high-priority groups before the #Lunar #New #Year holiday in #February.

“We call on people … to take an active part in vaccination to protect themselves, family members and others, which is also contributing to global epidemic control,” #Zeng #Yixin, an official with #National #Health #Commission, told a briefing on #Thursday.

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The price of the vaccine would depend on the scale of use, but the “premise” was that it would be free for the public in #China, he said.

The approval comes as #Britain on #Wednesday approved a second COVID-19 vaccine, a shot developed by #Oxford #University and #AstraZeneca, as it battles a major winter surge driven by a new variant of the virus.

#Reporting by #Roxanne #Liu, #Yew #Lun #Tian and #Tony #Munroe; #Writing by #Miyoung #Kim; #Editing by #Neil #Fullick, #Robert #Birsel



[ source link ]
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-vaccine-china-idUSKBN29505P

##China #COVID19 #vaccine #approval ##Sinopharm

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