A closer look at the largest inactivated COVID-19 vaccine plant
By Liu Yang, Zhao Jing


Video source: CGTN

With a history of more than 100 years, China National Biotec Group is the oldest biological blood products company in Asia, and it supplies more than 80 percent of China's immunization vaccines. 

During the COVID-19 outbreak, the company also launched several research projects, such as the use of 22 heavy respiratory pathogens test and the development of specific immunoglobulin, a type of protein that functions as antibodies.

On April 12, the clinical trial of the inactivated COVID-19 vaccine developed by its subsidiary Wuhan Institute of Biological Products got approved by the State Food and Drug Administration. On the same day, the vaccine clinical trials started in China's Henan Province.

In the past two months, the company has built with high efficiency the world's largest COVID-19 inactivated vaccine production plant, with construction standards and quality levels meeting biosafety level III protection requirements. 

Experts say that the vaccine could enter the market by the end of 2020 or early next year. More than 200 million doses of inactivated COVID-19 vaccines can be produced annually. 

Company chairman Liu Jingzhen said "we are now working with the World Health Organization (WHO) and 20 other countries to advance international cooperation, and clinical and subsequent use of the vaccine. Next step, as required by Chinese President Xi Jinping, we will bring vaccines to the world as a global public health product."


COVID-19 vaccine /Photo via China National Biotec Group Company

CGTN have spoken to some vaccine trial volunteers. To protect their privacy, they are remaining anonymous. 

One female volunteer said: "since the first inoculation, I have been keeping good living habits, filling in observation records and providing standard data as required by the doctor." Another male volunteer told us he had no discomfort, and after he joined the volunteer program, his family members and relatives were also interested in joining the vaccine research. 

Experts stress that in terms of effectiveness, the current inactivated vaccine, which was developed with extensive testing on seven types of animals, including monkeys, mice, and rabbits, and combined with other physical and chemical tests, all have proven their effectiveness. 

More than 2,000 people have participated in Phase I and II clinical trials, and the data shows that the incidence and degree of adverse reactions are much lower than that of other vaccines. 

At the virtual meeting of Gavi's third Global Vaccine Summit 2020 hosted by the UK on June 4, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced that the Chinese government will make a contribution of 20 million U.S. dollars to the funding of Gavi, a UN-backed alliance that helps get vaccines to developing countries, to meet the challenges of COVID-19 between 2021 and 2025. 

Li also said that China will continue to support the WHO's central role in coordinating vaccine research and development, and push forward multi-center clinical trials of vaccines.

At the moment, more than 100 candidate vaccines are in development worldwide, 10 of which are already in clinical evaluation. There is an unprecedented race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine worldwide at record speed.