Chinese vaccine candidate effective against all known coronavirus strains: Sinopharm

By Fan Wei Source: Global Times Published: 2020/7/16 16:20:26

We are racing with the virus, not the US: Sinopharm president

Vaccine Photo: Xinhua

A Chinese-developed inactivated COVID-19 vaccine candidate is effective against all detected strains of the virus so far, with lower chance and degree of adverse reactions than same-typed vaccine candidates under research, the head of the vaccine candidate's producer told the Global Times in an exclusive interview on Monday.

"The inactivated vaccine we developed can cover all strains of the coronavirus that have been detected so far, including the virus strains tracked in the Xinfadi market in Beijing," Yang Xiaoming, president of China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), noted in response to public concerns that the vaccine under the R&D process would be ineffective as the virus mutates. 

The research team has carried out cross-protection experiments to test if the anti-serum obtained by immunizing animals can produce an immune response to different genotypes of strains of coronavirus, Yang said.

Sinopharm, whose COVID-19 inactivated vaccine candidates have been delivered into phase three clinical trials, have stored more than 4 million doses of the vaccines, the Global Times learned from the group.  

Yang said that the group is currently storing more COVID-19 vaccines. Once a candidate is approved for the market, the company will soon be able to provide as many doses of vaccines as the country needs.  

Yang estimated that an inactivated COVID-19 vaccine will be available on the market at the end of this year or early 2021. Two inactivated COVID-19 vaccine candidates separately developed by Sinopharm institutes in Beijing and Wuhan entered clinical trials in April. 

The results of phase one and two clinical trials of the two candidates were revealed in June, showing that all receptors have created high-titer antibodies. 

Skepticism and pessimism of Chinese-developed COVID-19 vaccines have been raised in some Western media, which have exaggerated the side effect ratio reported in early-stage clinical trials of another vaccine candidate, the Ad5-nCoV recombinant novel coronavirus vaccine.

Vaccine experts advised the public not to panic over the side effects revealed in the preliminary results of the Chinese-developed coronavirus vaccine, as the adverse reactions exposed are tolerable and the vaccine is under constant optimization.

Yang also reveals that more than 1,000 Sinopharm group employees have been receiving injections on a voluntary basis, and the results show a promising trend that the vaccine is safe and effective, with low incidence and degree of adverse reactions. 

At the end of May, 180 volunteers from Sinopharm received inactivated COVID-19 vaccinations, and their antibodies have reached levels resistant to the coronavirus with a 100 percent protective rate.

On June 23, Sinopharm signed agreements with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government to conduct COVID-19 vaccine candidate phase three clinical trials in the country, the world's first COVID-19 vaccine candidate phase three clinical trials to have been launched. 

China's National Medical Products Administration on Thursday stressed the need to promote the development and marketing of COVID-19 vaccines, and take the initiative to help pharmaceutical companies resume work and production.

As China and the US have been given great hopes on providing panacea for the coronavirus, their respective vaccine R&D pace has drawn much media attention. Some have called the vaccine development "a race between two countries currently caught in strained ties." 

Leading US medical expert Anthony Fauci expressed his confidence in prospects for the US vaccine on Wednesday, and said he does not expect China to win the vaccine race, Reuters reported.

"The COVID war between the US and China is looking like a race to the moon. Being first to develop COVID treatments and vaccines has become a point of national pride," Lawrence Gostin, the director of Georgetown University's O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, was quoted as saying in the report of Business Insider. "A 'my country first' attitude is highly counterproductive. We need to work cooperatively as a global and scientific community."

 "We are racing with the coronavirus but not with the US [to be the first with successful vaccine]", Yang argued, claiming that all their efforts are part of China's commitment to make the vaccine available to the international community.

Yang said he hopes to see Chinese-developed vaccines against coronavirus accessible and affordable for developing countries when they turn out. He expects further global cooperation in COVID-19 vaccine trials to help stop the pandemic that has infected millions. 

Newspaper headline: Vaccine effective for all strains

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