China shows off COVID-19 vaccines for first time Beiyi Seow Agence France

China | Mon, September 7, 2020 | 07:24 pm

For the first time , China has shown its home-grown coronavirus vaccines, as the country where the outbreak has been detected looks to form the discourse around the pandemic. High hopes are hanging on the tiny liquid vials on display at this week’s Beijing trade fair — vaccine candidates developed by Sinovac Biotech and Sinopharm, Chinese companies. Neither has yet hit the market but the makers hope that they will be accepted as early as the year-end after all-important phase 3 trials.

A Sinovac representative told AFP that his firm has already “completed building a vaccine factory” capable of generating 300 million doses a year. On Monday, people crowded around booths at the trade fair showcasing the new vaccinations that could change the game. China, which faces a storm of international criticism over its early handling of the pandemic, has tried to repurpose COVID-19 ‘s narrative. State media and officials are now highlighting Wuhan’s revival as a success story in the fight against the virus, the central Chinese city where the deadly pathogen surfaced.

They also argue that domestic vaccines are advancing as a symbol of Chinese leadership and resilience in the face of an unprecedented health crisis that has pummeled the global economy. In May, President Xi Jinping committed to making a “global public good” of any potential vaccine developed by China Potential vaccines on display are among almost 10 in phase 3 trials worldwide, typically the last step ahead of regulatory approval, as countries are racing to stub out the virus and reboot battered economies. Sinopharm said it anticipates the antibodies from its jab to last between one and three years — though the final outcome will be known only after the trials. China’s nationalistic tabloid Global Times reported last month that “the price of the vaccines will not be high”.

The study said, citing Sinopharm’s chairman, who told media that he had already been injected with one of the candidate vaccines, that every two doses should cost below 1,000 yuan ($146). Official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported Monday that another vaccine candidate, developed by Chinese military scientists, can deal with coronavirus mutations. At least 5.7 billion doses of the vaccines under production worldwide had been pre-ordered as of last month. But the World Health Organization has warned that widespread COVID-19 immunization may not be on the cards until mid-night of next year.

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