China approves world's first XBB-specialized COVID-19 vaccine as second wave nears end by June
Published: Jun 09, 2023 02:03 AM
Vaccine. Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

A recombinant trivalent COVID-19 trimeric protein vaccine developed by WestVac Biopharma and West China Medical Center at Sichuan University, effective against the most recent XBB variants, has received emergency use approval in China. This marks the world's first approved XBB-targeting vaccine, highlighting China's leading position in COVID-19 vaccine research and development, WestVac Biopharma announced on Thursday.

Taking advantage of the rapid response of the internationally advanced insect cell expression platform in recombinant protein vaccine production, WestVac Biopharma and its subsidiary, WestVac Biopharma (Guangzhou), have constructed the vector for the Recombinant COVID-19 Trivalent (XBB+BA.5+Delta) Protein Vaccine (Sf9 Cell) and have successfully produced high-purity and high-quality trivalent recombinant protein vaccines for human use, as stated on the company's website.

The subunit vaccine antigen in the vaccine is precisely designed based on the structure of the targeting S-RBD and HR proteins of the COVID-19 subvariants XBB and BA.5, and can self-assemble into stable trimeric protein particles. Studies have shown that the vaccine induced high titers of neutralizing antibodies against multiple subvariants, including Omicron XBB.1.5, XBB1.16, XBB1.9.1, XBB.2.3, BA.5, BF.7, BQ.1, BA.2.75, indicating that it is a broad-spectrum COVID-19 vaccine against multiple prevalent subvariants at home and abroad, according to the company.

The news came as some Chinese cities are undergoing a second wave of the COVID-19 epidemic. The country started to witness gradually climbing COVID-19 reports since late April and the epidemic spread at a low rate since mid-May, media reported citing data from the national health authority.

XBB variants dominated more than 90 percent of the new cases, media said.

The newly approved XBB-specialized vaccine will effectively help the country and the world fight against the virus in the post-pandemic era, experts said.

Experts predicted that the epidemic in Beijing will subside by the end of June based on the latest data. According to the Beijing health authority, 23,526 cases of infectious diseases were reported in the 22nd week this year (in May 29-June 4) with two deaths, declining by 23 percent compared with last week.

From the 17th to the 21st week of this year, reports of infectious diseases gradually climbed in Beijing. Beijing health authority received 30,750 reports of 16 notifiable infectious diseases in the 21st week of this year (May 22-28). The five most reported diseases were COVID-19, other infectious diarrheal diseases, influenza, tuberculosis and syphilis, accounting for about 99 percent of the total reports.

Global Times