China approves first mRNA vaccine for COVID-19
Published: Mar 22, 2023 06:34 PM Updated: Mar 22, 2023 06:21 PM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

China has approved its first mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, correcting the absence of this new vaccine technology for public use.

Developed by CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd, the mRNA vaccine has been approved by China’s National Medical Products Administration for emergency use in China, according to a statement from the company on Wednesday to the Hong Kong stock exchange. 

According to the statement, the efficacy of the mRNA vaccine was 70.2 percent from the 7th to 28th day after booster vaccination, with recombinant protein vaccine used as a control in a clinical study of 4,000 cases of sequential booster immunization conducted between December 10, 2022 and January 18, 2023. 

The efficacy of the mRNA vaccine remained at 85.3 percent from the 14th to 28th days after a booster vaccination. 

CSPC said that the vaccine is the first self-developed mRNA vaccine product in China, which has obtained authorization for emergency use on the mainland. The company will fully consider the mutation of the COVID-19 variants and predict the variation trend of future strains to promote the research and development of iterations of mRNA vaccine against the new strains. 

The previously approved mRNA vaccine named BNT162b2 in Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions and the island of Taiwan was not entirely developed in the Chinese mainland. 

The approval comes years after mRNA vaccines became commonplace across the world, adding an option to the nation’s arsenal in its battle against COVID-19, and is expected to reinforce China’s reliance solely on homegrown vaccines to immunize its 1.4 billion population. 

CSPC’s mRNA vaccine was approved by the NMPA for clinical trials together with the mRNA vaccine developed by Chinese manufacturer CanSino Biologics in April of 2022. The Chinese government has yet to approve the mRNA vaccine BNT162b2, which was co-developed by German-based BioNTech and China’s Fosun Pharma for use on the mainland. 

The latest statistics from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention show that the number of positive COVID-19 infections in China continues to fall, with the daily positive results for nucleic acid testing remaining above 4,000. 

According to Liu Jue, a researcher from the School of Public Health of Peking University and member of the expert team of China’s National Health Commission, COVID-19 has not disappeared, but remains an epidemic at low levels, Jiankang Shibao (Health Times) reported on Wednesday. 

Global Times