KOLKATA (India) — China approved the first COVID-19 vaccine for general public use, developed by an affiliate of Chinese pharma giant Sinopharm.
China’s Medical Products Administration officially granted “conditional marketing authorization” (CMA) for state-owned Sinopharm vaccine, CGTN News reported. The authorization comes with no public data from the company.
COVID-19 vaccine development in China has drawn controversy in the past after reports claimed the nation began inoculating millions of its frontal healthcare workers with the experimental vaccine in the past few months. Most of them were in late-stage clinical trials.
Sinopharm’s vaccine getting a CMA marks the first, official approval of a vaccine made by a Chinese vaccine candidate.
The only detail about the vaccine that was made publicly available by Beijing Biological Products Institute, a unit of Sinopharm subsidiary China National Biotec Group (CNBG) was that its jabs are 79.34 percent effective in inhabiting the novel coronavirus, Reuters reported.
The Chinese approval came days after the UAE became the first nation outside China to approve the Sinovac vaccine for mass rollout. Pakistan became the latest nation to announce a deal of 1.2 million Sinovac doses from China.
“The Cabinet Committee has decided to initially purchase 1.2 million doses of the vaccine from the Chinese company Sinopharm, which will be provided free of cost to frontline workers in the first quarter of 2021,” Pakistan’s Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain wrote on Twitter.
Ukraine announced Wednesday that the nation has signed a contract with China to procure 1.8 million doses of Sinovac vaccines, in the shortest time possible.
At least five vaccine candidates are being developed in China, highlighting the nation’s efforts to overturn Western mastery in the sector. Xi Jinping vowed earlier this year to make China’s vaccine a global public resource.
So far, Brazil and Indonesia apart from Pakistan have secured multimillion-dose deals of Chinese vaccines.
In July, China launched a vaccinating campaign aimed at high-risk workers in the country. So far until December, 4.1 million people have been given one of the few experimental COVID-19 vaccines in China. Western nations criticized the move to jab people with premature vaccines.
Economists and healthcare experts noted Chinese vaccines hold importance to many developing nations as they struggle to get access to the effective and powerful Western vaccines made by the likes of Moderna, Pfizer, and BioNtech.
The developing world is closely watching the development of Chinese vaccines, Reuters noted. “But if the vaccine wants to take a share in the global market, especially in developed countries, more data is necessary,” Dong-yan Jin, a professor at the University of Hong Kong said.