China rolls out first locally made single-dose Covid vaccine

Published on Feb 28, 2021 05:40 PM IST
The vaccine was jointly developed by Cansino Biologics, a Tianjin-based private company, and researchers from the Institute of Military Medicine under the Academy of Military Sciences led by scientist, Chen Wei.
A logo of China's vaccine specialist Cansino Biologics Inc is pictured in Tianjin. (REUTERS FILE)
A logo of China's vaccine specialist Cansino Biologics Inc is pictured in Tianjin. (REUTERS FILE)
BySutritho Patranobis I Edited by Vinod Janardhanan

China has given conditional market approval to the country’s first one-shot Covid-19 vaccine, state media reports said, adding that 500 million can be inoculated with it in a year.

The vaccine was jointly developed by Cansino Biologics, a Tianjin-based private company, and researchers from the Institute of Military Medicine under the Academy of Military Sciences led by scientist Chen Wei.

“The Chinese National Medical Products Administration granted conditional market approval to a recombinant novel coronavirus vaccine that requires only one shot,” official Xinhua news agency said in a report.

Targeting people aged above 18, the vaccine can be transported and stored at a temperature ranging from 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.

A state media report said the company can manufacture about 500 million doses annually.

Phase-I clinical trials for the vaccine had started on March 16, 2020, making it the world’s first Covid-19 candidate vaccine that entered clinical trials.

Pakistan was one of the countries where clinical trials for the vaccine were carried out.

The protective effect can last at least six months after a single-dose inoculation and can increase immune response by 10 to 20 times if the second dose is taken half a year after the first one, Chen told national broadcaster, CCTV.

“We have data for six months so far to prove the vaccine’s efficacy. People don’t need to take another dose within the first six months after their first inoculation. What if the epidemic is not over after six months? We have also developed the vaccine so that its effect is strengthened even after six months,” Chen said.

Earlier this month, Pakistan health minister Faisal Sultan had announced on Twitter that Cansino’s vaccine was 65.7% effective in preventing symptomatic cases of the virus and 90.1% effective in preventing severe disease.

Sultan said the figure was based on a multiple-country analysis of Cansino’s Phase III clinical trials, but the Pakistani subset with 30,000 participants showed slightly stronger figures of 74.8% protection against symptomatic cases and 100% protection against severe infections.

Cansino has also tested its vaccine in Mexico, Chile and Argentina.

According to a report in Fortune magazine, Cansino’s shot is based on similar viral-vector vaccine technology that Johnson & Johnson is using for its own one-shot vaccine.

Cansino’s 65% efficacy rate also appears on par with Johnson & Johnson’s 66% figure. Cansino’s 65% efficacy figure would pass the World Health Organization’s recommended threshold of 50%, but it still lags behind the 94% and 95% figures posted by Moderna and Pfizer, respectively, the Fortune report added.

Separately, China’s National Medical Products administration said last week that it has approved two more Covid-19 vaccines for public use.

Besides the one from Cansino Biologics, the second one is from Sinopharm’s affiliate Wuhan Institute of Biological Product. The new approvals meant China had four locally developed approved vaccines for Covid-19.

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