Chinese experimental Covid-19 vaccine given to 1 million people
China launched the emergency vaccine use programme in July, mainly directed towards essential workers and those going abroadUpdated: Nov 20, 2020, 00:09 IST
A million people have taken an experimental Covid-19 vaccine developed by the government-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) under an emergency inoculation programme, the company has said.
No serious adverse reaction has been reported from those who received the vaccine in emergency use, Sinopharm said in an article on the social media platform WeChat, citing a recent media interview by chairperson, Liu Jingzhen.
China launched the emergency vaccine use programme in July, mainly directed towards essential workers and those going abroad.
The vaccine has been administered even as clinical or human trials of the vaccine are yet to be completed, leaving question marks on its efficacy and safety.
Two vaccine candidates developed by Sinopharm’s subsidiary China National Biotec Group (CNBG) and a third one developed by Sinovac Biotech have been used for the emergency programme, though it remains unclear which vaccine Liu was referring to, Reuters news agency said in a report.
Earlier this month, Liu had told a press conference that none of the 56,000 people who were inoculated with a Covid-19 vaccine and travelled abroad have contracted the coronavirus.
Until the beginning of November, some 100,000 people had been vaccinated with the company’s vaccine and have shown no adverse reactions so far.
“Some of the others who received the emergency-use vaccine are employees of China National Petroleum Corporation, China Petrochemical Corporation and Technology giant Huawei,” Chinese state media had reported, quoting Liu.
On Wednesday, scientific journal The Lancet said Sinovac Biotech’s experimental Covid-19 vaccine CoronaVac triggered a quick immune response, but the level of antibodies produced was lower than in people who had recovered from the disease, mid-stage trial results showed.
While the early to mid-stage trials were not designed to assess the efficacy of CoronaVac, researchers said it could provide sufficient protection and could be used for emergency use.
China is among the countries racing to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus, which first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.
China has five vaccines for Covid-19 currently undergoing Phase 3 clinical trials in some foreign countries.
A leading Chinese expert on Thursday said that Chinese vaccines are very effective.
“Currently, no vaccine has completed Phase 3 clinical trials, but Pfizer and Moderna claimed their vaccines are very effective. Please trust me, and I want to tell the public that China’s vaccines are also very effective,” Gao Fu, director of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said in an online seminar on Thursday.