A staff member displays a sample of the COVID-19 inactivated vaccine at a vaccine production plant of China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) in Beijing, capital of China, April 10, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)
A COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use will hopefully be available by autumn or the end of the year, China's top infectious disease expert Zhong Nanshan said on Saturday during a live-streaming program.
Six coronavirus candidate vaccines are undergoing clinical trials in China, Zhong noted. Large-scale vaccination is still the main method to achieve herd immunity against the novel coronavirus. The strategy may take one to two years.
If we approach herd immunity through the method of natural infection, infection without any intervention, it may lead to the deaths of about 7 percent of the global population. A cost that is far too high, Zhong noted.
Chinese authorities previously revealed that five domestically developed candidate vaccines have entered into clinical trials. According to information updated on June 2 on the website of the World Health Organization, the sixth candidate is jointly developed by Chinese company Fosun, German BioNTech and US drugmaker Pfizer.
China is willing to promote international cooperation and will make it a global public product, as the country previously promised, once the vaccine is successfully put onto the market, Wang Zhigang, the director of China's Ministry of Science and Technology, said on Sunday at a press conference regarding The White Paper on fighting COVID-19 China in Action, calling for enhanced international cooperation.