China approves two more domestic COVID-19 vaccines, increasing number to four


FILE PHOTO: A logo of China's vaccine specialist CanSino Biologics Inc is pictured in Tianjin, China August 17, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s National Medical Products Administration said on Thursday it had approved two more COVID-19 vaccines for public use, bringing the number of vaccines approved in China to four.

The two newly approved vaccines are manufactured by CanSino Biologics Inc and the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, a subsidiary of China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm).

They join a vaccine from Sinovac Biotech that was approved earlier this month and another vaccine from Sinopharm’s Beijing unit that was approved last year.

So far, China has not approved any COVID-19 vaccines developed by Western drugmakers.

Sinopharm’s Wuhan unit said Wednesday that its vaccine has an efficacy rate of 72.51% against COVID-19 disease caused by the virus, citing an interim analysis of data from late-stage clinical trials, without offering further details.

The vaccine is one of two candidates from Sinopharm that have entered Phase III clinical trials overseas, and was previously administered to a limited group of people at increased risk of infection.

The four approved Chinese vaccines can be stored at normal freezer temperatures, making them a potentially attractive option for developing countries that may have difficulty using vaccines from Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA), which require much colder temperatures for longer-term storage.

 

China has exported Sinovac and earlier Sinopharm vaccines to countries around the world.

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