Sinopharm has improved the production capacity of its factory, with the objective of 200 million doses per year
Two experimental vaccines against the new coronavirus (COVID-19) developed by research institutes led by the China National Pharmaceutical Group, also known as Sinopharm, have shown positive signs in terms of efficacy and safety, which gives hope that a vaccine may be available at the end of this year.
At the same time, Sinopharm is increasing its vaccine manufacturing capacity, aiming to produce at least 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine per year to increase the accessibility of approved products, according to a statement posted on WeChat on Friday evening by the Commission of supervision and administration of public assets of the State Council, which oversees Sinopharm.
The two inactivated vaccines have both “entered the first two phases” of clinical trials, with more than 2,000 human volunteers having received an injection from one of them, the statement said.
The vaccines were created by the Wuhan Biological Products Institute, based in Hubei Province, and the Beijing Biological Products Institute.
Clinical data shows that their safety and efficacy are “fully verified”, and the rates and severity of side effects seen in volunteers are much lower than those for vaccines for other diseases already approved for sale, says the communicated.
It will take longer to complete the three phases of the clinical trials and obtain approval for public use.
“As soon as possible, a vaccine will arrive at the end of this year or at the beginning of next year”, according to the press release.
The Beijing Biologics Institute has also completed construction of facilities for mass production of inactivated COVID-19 vaccines and has passed preliminary assessments of their biosafety levels.
The institute’s annual production capacity is expected to reach 100 to 120 million doses of vaccine, according to the Wechat publication. Factory workers on Saturday began to thoroughly disinfect the facility to prepare for production.
New facilities at the Wuhan Institute of Biologics will be completed by the end of this month or early next month to increase production capacity.
Liu Jingzhen, president of Sinopharm, said that to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, the group focused on the type of vaccines whose development technique is mature and controllable.
The possibility of the vaccine being produced on a large scale and being widely disseminated was also taken into account.
As COVID-19 continues to spread worldwide, researchers around the world are rushing to create a vaccine.
Renowned Chinese epidemiologist and respiratory disease expert Zhong Nanshan said on Chinese Central Television on Saturday that China is among the top countries in terms of vaccine development, with five promising vaccines entering phase two of the trials clinics nationwide.
However, he also noted that creating a highly effective vaccine is a lengthy process that requires lengthy comparison and selection from a pool of candidates.