Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks via video at the Global Vaccine Summit 2020 on June 4, 2920. (Photo: Global Times)
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday delivered a speech at the virtual Global Vaccine Summit 2020 to enhance global coronavirus vaccine cooperation, emphasizing that China has been cooperating closely with international partners in the development of COVID-19 vaccines and will fulfill its commitment to providing global public goods.
To meet the challenges of COVID-19, the Chinese government will make a contribution of $20 million to GAVI's funding for the period 2021-2025, Li announced.
Analysts said that the attendance of such a senior official suggested that China attaches great importance to world cooperation amid the pandemic and China is committed to protecting lives, which is in line with the spirit of a community of shared future for mankind.
The summit was chaired by the UK this year, aiming to raise at least $7.4 billion in funding for GAVI - the global vaccine alliance - whose founding partners include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the WHO and UNICEF.
China moved from being a beneficiary to a donor of GAVI in 2015 with an initial contribution of $5 million.
GAVI has worked to promote the immunization of people from lower-income countries since 2000. At the moment, GAVI is dedicated to enhancing global cooperation in developing COVID-19 vaccines and discussing fair distribution as they become available.
There are 10 vaccines undergoing clinical trials and 123 candidates in the preclinical evaluation stage, according to latest WHO data on Tuesday.
Among the 10 pioneers, five were developed by Chinese scientists and have entered phase II clinical trials. One vaccine co-registered by developers from China, Germany and the US is undergoing phase I trials.
Chinese companies are also conducting vaccine cooperation with the UK and Canada, according to authorities.
China is working around the clock for breakthroughs in COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and testing reagents. So far, investment from the Chinese government and private sector in these areas has topped 4 billion yuan, and it is estimated to exceed 10 billion yuan in total, Li said.
China will continue to do its best to help affected countries, especially developing ones. Bolstering their COVID-19 responses and socioeconomic recovery as the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging unabated, and with formidable challenges remaining, vaccines are a strong shield against the virus, he added.
Chinese experts earlier estimated that a vaccine will come out in about March 2021.
A Beijing-based immunology expert who spoke anonymously told the Global Times on Thursday that it is necessary to discuss a mechanism to accelerate trial and approval of foreign vaccines as the procedure often takes years.
The international community should also guarantee that no country or company could corner the market for profit and people from less developed countries hit hard by the pandemic can also benefit from research fruits, the expert said.
Taking a lead in developing COVID-19 vaccines, China is fulfilling its commitment to the world of making the product a global public good.