BEIJING: A COVID-19 vaccine developed by a Beijing firm linked to Sinopharm has a protection rate of 79.34 per cent against the disease, the firm said in a statement on Wednesday (Dec 30).
Beijing Biological Products Institute said it had applied to the National Medical Products Administration for conditional approval of the inactivated coronavirus vaccine, a type of inoculation using particles of the pathogen.
The result is based on interim analysis of data from its Phase III clinical trial, but the firm did not give details such as the number of infections in the trial.
The efficacy of the Chinese vaccine candidate is lower than rival jabs developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna but a potential breakthrough in the battle to stem the pandemic in Asia.
China has been racing against to develop its own COVID-19 vaccines, with five already in large-scale Phase 3 clinical trials. But it has struggled to gain international trust for its vaccine candidates, hindered by a lack of transparency on test results.
It has also been slow to complete Phase 3 trials, which had to be conducted abroad due to China’s success at curbing the spread of COVID-19 within its own borders.
Chinese officials have repeatedly assured the public of the vaccines’ safety, claiming that there have been no serious adverse reactions.
More than 1 million people have already been vaccinated with unapproved vaccines in China under its emergency use programme, including frontline health workers, state-owned enterprise employees and workers planning to travel abroad.
The United Arab Emirates approved a Sinopharm vaccine earlier this month, becoming the first foreign country to approve a China-developed COVID-19 vaccine.
Beijing has pledged to share the vaccine at a fair cost – a potential boost for poorer Asian countries who are otherwise reliant on limited distribution offered by the COVAX scheme.
“China has made the firm commitment that after China’s new coronavirus vaccines are completed and put into use, they will serve as a global public product and be supplied to the world at a fair and reasonable price,” foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Friday.
“We will also give priority to developing countries for vaccines. This will be made through a variety of ways, including through donations and aid.”