by Huang Lanlan in Shanghai and Leng Shumei in Beijing
China’s Sinopharm is expanding the production capacity to five billion doses per year with accelerating overseas cooperation after one of its COVID-19 vaccines was included in the Emergency Using List of the World Health Organization (WHO), company executives said at a forum on Thursday in Shanghai.
Sinopharm has produced more than 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and more than 200 million doses have been supplied at home and abroad, Sinopharm executives said.
Sinopharm is expected to further expand its production capacity to five billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines per year globally as the Chinese pharmaceutical giant is working on the construction and expansion of vaccine-producing plants, and cooperating with foreign countries, including the UAE, to make Sinopharm vaccine overseas, according to Sinopharm chairman Liu Jingzhen.
More than 100 countries and international organizations have expressed interest in China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine, said Yang Xiaoming, chairman of Sinopharm China National Biotec Group (CNBG), a Sinopharm subsidiary.
The vaccine has been registered for market or approved for emergency use by 80 countries, regions and international organizations, covering people from 196 countries [and regions], Yang said at a Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine-themed forum in Shanghai on Thursday.
“The Sinopharm vaccine has become the world’s safest, most widely-used and acclaimed COVID-19 vaccine,” Yang noted.
Sinopharm have created three COVID-19 vaccines, including two inactivated and one recombinant one. The two inactivated vaccines have been approved for market by Chinese authorities and been used widely around the world, while the recombinant one is under Phase I/II clinical trials that kicked off in Central China’s Henan Province in April.
One of the two inactivated vaccines made by a Beijing-based institute under the CNBG obtained emergency approval from the WHO on May 7.
WHO’s approval would be a stepping stone and key for Sinopharm to promote their COVID-19 vaccines in the international market, company executives said at the forum.
The WHO experts’ final report on the Sinopharm vaccines said that the experts have low confidence in the vaccine’s efficacy on people aged 60 and above and other groups with underlying diseases.
A domestic trial covering more than 100,000 volunteers, of which 40 percent will be elderly people, to observe our vaccines’ safety and side effects on these groups will be conducted. Data on research on those aged 3-17 have been obtained and submitted to the national authority, Zhang Yuntao, CNBG vice president and chief scientist, said at the forum.
Thirteen women have gotten pregnant after getting Sinopharm’s shots and one of them gave birth to a healthy baby this month, which shows promise for pregnant women in the future, Zhang said.
Research on simultaneous vaccinations of COVID-19 vaccines and vaccines against other respiratory diseases is also underway. Dose studies on people with underlying diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and AIDS are also being conducted, according to Zhang.