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A prominent Covid-19 vaccine candidate under development in China is expected to be available by the end of this year, according to a report published in the official Wechat account of the State Commission for Monitoring and Administering Assets.
The vaccine, jointly developed by the Beijing Biologics Institute and China National Biotec Group Co., has completed phase II testing and may be ready for market later this year or early next year. , according to the report.
The vaccine production line will be fully disinfected and closed for production which will begin on Saturday, and will have a full manufacturing capacity of 100 million to 120 million vaccines each year.
Drug makers are rushing to find a cure for the contagion that has so far killed at least 365,000 people. More than 100 vaccines against the virus are in development worldwide, but only a handful have reached the crucial and final stages of human clinical trials, led by Chinese scientists.
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A total of five vaccines developed by Chinese companies are currently being tested on humans, the most in any country. Beijing has mobilized its health authorities, drug regulators and research institutes to work 24 hours a day with local companies to offer the first company in the world to be successful for Covid-19.
President Xi Jinping has promised to share any effective vaccine around the world, but Chinese companies still face challenges. Phase III testing should be done in an area where the coronavirus continues to spread quickly, and cases in China have decreased to a handful every day. In addition, an effective vaccine requires massive production capacity to meet demands for global distribution.
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The vaccine candidate from the Beijing Institute of Biological Products and the China National Biotec Group is using a killed version of the new coronavirus that may still trigger an immune response. Such inactivated vaccines have been developed over many years to protect people from diseases such as polio and hepatitis.
While inactivated vaccines may be slower to develop initially, their familiar path to mass production could allow them to overcome the shots fired by more recent and advanced approaches.
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