A boy looks at Sinovac Biotech LTD's vaccine candidate for COVID-19 on display at the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing. (Photo: AFP)
Chinese vaccine producers are accelerating clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccine candidates and preparing for full-speed production once a product is approved to enter the market.
A phase III clinical trial project on a COVID-19 vaccine jointly developed by Chinese company CanSino Biologics Inc (CanSinoBIO) and military infectious expert Chen Wei was launched on Tuesday in Pakistan, following another phase III clinical trial on the vaccine starting in Russia, the Global Times learned from the company.
According to Pakistan newspaper Dawn, around 8,000 to 10,000 volunteers in the country will participate in the project and initial results of the trial are expected in four to six months. Meanwhile, clinical trials on the CanSinoBIO vaccine are being held in seven countries, including Pakistan, covering a total of 40,000 people.
As the company that developed China's first COVID-19 vaccine to enter clinical trials, released the world's first COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial data and obtained the first patent for COVID-19 in China, CanSino said they are now accelerating international clinical trials to test the efficacy of the vaccine and lay out mass production.
On August 31, CanSinoBIO signed an agreement with Shanghai Pharmaceuticals Holdings Co. Ltd. to cooperate on vaccine research and development, production and storage to guarantee vaccine supply.
Solution Biologics Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary under Malaysian investment holding company Solution Group Berhad, is also reportedly talking with CanSinoBIO to promote registration, production and marketization of CanSinoBIO's COVID-19 candidate vaccine in Malaysia.
Previously, Chen Wei told media that production of the vaccine is estimated to reach 300 million doses per year.
CanSinoBIO and two other Chinese companies, whose COVID-19 candidate vaccines are going through testing, are also accelerating clinical trials and preparing for immediate mass production once a product is ready to enter the market.
On September 17, Sinovac Biotech Ltd. reached an agreement with Ali Health, Alibaba's healthcare subsidiary, to build a COVID-19 vaccination platform for reservations, health follow-ups after vaccination and issuing of vaccination certifications. The platform will be fully open to the public after Sinovac Biotech's COVID-19 candidate vaccine enters the market, but the platform is already available for some people with high infection risk.
South China Morning Post also reported on Monday that two-dose vaccines of the China National Biotec Group were being reviewed for "conditional approval" from the national drug regulator, and if given the green light, the vaccines would be available for at most 600 yuan ($88) for both doses, according to the group's vice-president Zhang Yuntao.