A Chinese drugmaker said on Wednesday its coronavirus vaccine was found to be 79.3 percent effective at preventing infection in preliminary data from the final round of testing, moving Beijing closer to possibly being able to fulfill its pledge to supply other developing countries.
State-owned Sinopharm is one of at least four Chinese developers that are part of a global race to create vaccines for the disease that has killed 1.8 million people. More than 1 million health care workers and others in China have received Chinese-developed vaccines under emergency approval while testing was under way.
Sinopharm, or China National Pharmaceutical Group, has applied for approval of its vaccine following the third and final stage of testing, a unit of the company, Beijing Biological Products Institute Ltd, said on its website.
It would be the second vaccine from a Sinopharm unit, following a separate candidate developed by the company’s Wuhan Institute of Biological Products Ltd.
Chinese producers have at least six possible vaccines in the final stage of clinical trials.
The Sinopharm vaccine relies on two doses, the company said, similar to Western-developed vaccines. The two-sentence announcement gave no information about side effects, conditions required to transport and use the vaccine or other details.
Western-developed vaccines must be kept frozen at temperatures as low as minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 Fahrenheit). Chinese developers have said theirs can be stored at 2 to 8 C (36 to 46 F).
Chinese developers are testing vaccines in more than a dozen countries, including Russia, Egypt and Mexico. Few details have been released, leaving experts abroad wondering about effectiveness and side effects.
Western companies are distributing newly distributed coronavirus vaccines, but some health experts express concern too little will be available to poorer countries. China’s government says it will ensure Chinese-developed vaccines are affordable for developing countries and has been actively pursuing distribution deals abroad.
Health experts say even if they are successful, the certification process for the United States, Europe, Japan, and other developed countries might be too complex for Chinese vaccines to be used there.