China serves as global vaccine provider with safest technique and firm governmental support
Published: Feb 07, 2021 09:48 PM

A staff member of Sinovac Biotech, a Chinese biopharmaceutical company, cultivates Vero cells for production of COVID-19 inactivated vaccines in Beijing, capital of China, March 23, 2020. China's National Medical Products Administration on Friday granted conditional market approval to CoronaVac, an inactivated COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sinovac Biotech, the company said on Saturday. (Xinhua/Zhang Yuwei)

Chinese companies are supporting global COVID-19 vaccine production chains regardless of cost and profit due to the strong governmental support they have received as well as their mature capacity in producing inactivated vaccines, while some countries with strong research and development as well as production capacity have been hesitating to invest in COVID-19 vaccines as much as China has, industry analysts said as China-manufactured materials for AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Brazil.

A first shipment of 88 liters of active ingredients to make AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine in Brazil arrived from China on Saturday, essential input to speed up the country's troubled vaccination program, Reuters reported.

With those supplies, Brazil's government-funded Fiocruz biomedical center can produce 2.8 million doses and the country expects to receive more ingredients this month to make a total of 15 million shots of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, according to Reuters.

The vaccine materials refer to primary liquid of vaccines or semi-finished vaccines, according to industry insiders. 

According to media reports, the Brazilian federal government has ordered materials for the Fiocruz center to make up to 100 million shots from Chinese contract medical researcher Wuxi AppTec which is based in Wuxi, East China's Jiangsu Province. 

On the evening of February 3, 5,400 liters of supplies of Chinese company Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccines also arrived in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro thanked China before for rapidly approving the vaccine exports to support local mass vaccination programs.

China has become a major provider of not only vaccines but also basic materials to make vaccines for the globe despite the high risk and low profit of the COVID-19 vaccine, industry analysts said, noting that some countries with strong vaccine research and development as well as production capacity, such as Japan and South Korea, have not invested as much as China did to support global COVID-19 vaccine demand. 

It is not expensive or complex to build an mRNA or inactivated vaccine production line, but a major concern of some countries and companies was the risk their reputations may have to face and the market due to the uncertainty and doubts about COVID-19 vaccines, a Beijing-based vaccine expert told the Global Times on Sunday on condition of anonymity. 

The primary concerns of these countries and companies include potential profits, research and development success rate and production capacity, analysts noted. 

But China is able to assume the position as a global vaccine provider as, on one hand, it started with inactivated methods which the country has mastered and on the other, China has the governmental organization and support to accelerate the research and production procedure, analysts said. 

China's inactivated vaccines are currently the safest COVID-19 vaccines in the world, said the expert.