Construction of China's first mRNA vaccine plant breaks ground in Yunnan
Published: Dec 21, 2020 08:33 PM

A staff member shows finished vaccines filled in the vial. Photo: Li Hao/GT

The nation's first mRNA COVID-19 vaccine production plant will be built in Yuxi, Southwest China's Yunnan Province, which is expected to produce 120 million doses of vaccines annually after the plant is completed.

The mRNA vaccine, called ARcoVax, is being co-developed by the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, Suzhou ABOGEN and Yunnan Walvax Biotechnology Co. An employee at Walvax told the Global Times that a groundbreaking ceremony was held on Monday. 

The share price of Walvax surged 5 percent following the release of the information.

"The mRNA vaccine requires high-standard production techniques, and only a few companies in Germany and US have the core technology," said Li Yunchun, chairman of Walvax.

The vaccine plant project has received 280 million yuan ($43 million) in investment and will be completed within eight months. "It is expected to begin supplying vaccines in the latter half of 2021," said Li.

ARcoVax vaccine received approval from the National Medical Products Administration of China on June 19, 2020 to go into clinical trials. It has performed well across safety and immunogenicity indicators.

According to a report released by the WHO, six China-developed COVID-19 vaccines have entered phase III clinical trials, using techniques including mRNA, inactivated virus and protein subunits.

Media reports suggested that mRNA vaccines have the highest protection rate of 95 percent among all the vaccines that have entered phase III clinical trials.