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China gives its first COVID-19 vaccine approval to Sinopharm

Coronavirus Dec 31, 2020 12:20AM ET
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© Reuters. Booth displaying coronavirus vaccine candidate from CNBG in Beijing

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.

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 (NYSE:PFE) and its partner BioNTech SE (NASDAQ:BNTX) and Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) 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.

"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.

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.

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 (NASDAQ:AZN), as it battles a major winter surge driven by a new variant of the virus.

China gives its first COVID-19 vaccine approval to Sinopharm
 

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Comments (13)
Chris Vu
Chris Vu Dec 31, 2020 12:06PM ET
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Why is China such a hotspot for novel diseases? Because of their concentrated 1.4 billion people, their habit of eating exotic animals, and their lack of hygiene.
Yelen Shim
Yelen Shim Dec 31, 2020 12:06PM ET
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My experience with Chinese girls vs western ones completely is the opposite as far as hygiene is concerned.
Chris Vu
Chris Vu Dec 31, 2020 11:46AM ET
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While China can save the world with its cheap and safe inactivated COVID-19 which can be stored at a standard refrigerator temperature, it instead sows distrust by their lack of transparency in not releasing the full data of the efficacy trials.  This gives western media a chance to hype up questions about safety and efficacy.  Did you all see the recent article about their lockdown of a bat cave to prevent scientists from taking samples?
Richard Goh
Richard Goh Dec 31, 2020 6:31AM ET
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When medicine is commercialized by big pharma, the people in the world will suffer. This is the denegation of humanity.
Daniel Lu
Daniel Lu Dec 31, 2020 3:34AM ET
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Of course, only China knows how to develope the real cure to China virus from the Wuhan lab. LOL.
Gerald Zhang
Gerald Zhang Dec 31, 2020 3:34AM ET
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not to the UK virus
泽颖
泽颖 Dec 31, 2020 3:34AM ET
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Totally agree....not sure if it works for the UK virus....
Anakin Skwk
Anakin_Skwk Dec 31, 2020 3:34AM ET
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No. It is Trump who knows how to deal with the Trump virus.
Bernard Tan
Bernard Tan Dec 31, 2020 3:34AM ET
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China’s vacine is made from weakened covid-19 virus, its biological. Pfizer and moderna’s made from non biological product like some sort of chemical and its dangerous to the body!
Gurwinder Singh
Gurwinder Singh Dec 31, 2020 12:58AM ET
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Lol
Gavin Peterson
Gavin Peterson Dec 31, 2020 12:25AM ET
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Bullish news
David David
David9 Dec 31, 2020 12:07AM ET
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I told you guys... China's vaccine is probably the best one out there. I would much rather wait for this vaccine than others, cause China's testing is very very rigorous...
Tony Huynh
Tony Huynh Dec 31, 2020 12:07AM ET
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I'm not sure if serious or you are trolling. China's vaccine is about as good as Russia
David David
David9 Dec 31, 2020 12:07AM ET
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Tony Huynh China has the best scientists right now, so I would put a lot of trust in their vaccine...
William Smith
William Smith Dec 31, 2020 12:07AM ET
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David being brainwashed by the American hating leftists in the media, academia and the Democrats
C S Lim
C S Lim Dec 31, 2020 12:07AM ET
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While the western "vaccine" reduces the severity of the symptoms, China's vaccine prevents a person from getting the virus. See the difference. One reduces the severity whilst the other prevents which is what a true vaccine should do.
Chris Vu
Chris Vu Dec 31, 2020 12:07AM ET
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Very rigorous testing? Don't make me laugh. Maybe rigorous lack of transparency is more like it.
Hoang Pham
Hoang Pham Dec 30, 2020 11:56PM ET
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China approvaled corrona virus 2 years ago
Jennie Blitt
Jennie Blitt Dec 30, 2020 11:56PM ET
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I thought china rolled out a vaccine near the begining of tgis and had it under control? No?
Peter Boyer
Peter Boyer Dec 30, 2020 11:13PM ET
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I think the stock will tank tomorrow bellow 3700
Peter Boyer
Peter Boyer Dec 30, 2020 11:12PM ET
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I think the stock will tank tomorrow bellow 3700
 
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