Chinese state-owned National Pharmaceutical Group, Sinopharm on Thursday said that almost a million people in the country has been inoculated with its vaccine.Though Sinopharmhas not yet provided any clear clinical evidence of efficacy, the Chinese company said that the data from its late-stage, large-scale clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccine were “better than expected”.
Sinopharm’s unit China National Biotec Group (CNBG) has moved two of its vaccine candidates into Phase 3 clinical trials involving more than a total 50,000 participants, in multiple countries outside China, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt.China has also been giving experimental Covid-19 vaccines to people heading abroad since July, ranging from state employees to international students and essential workers.
Sinopharm’s chairman, Liu Jingzhentold media this week that nearly a million peoplehave now received their vaccine for emergency use, though he did not provide a specific figure. “We have not received a single report of the severe adverse reaction, and only a few had some mild symptoms,” he added.
Even when the company did not offer clinical evidence from ongoing trials, it claimed this week to be “leading the world in all aspects” of vaccine development.It merely cited anecdotal experiences from those who have been inoculated, like “construction personnel, diplomats, and overseas students” who went on to visit more than 150 countries without being infected after vaccination, according to the company. Many of those inoculated were not formal participants in drugmakers’ trials and are said to have done so voluntarily.
China has been bullish about the development of its vaccine for COVID-19 virus, which first emerged in Wuhan late last year and four vaccines are currently in late-stage testing.Many of the trials are taking place overseas, as China has largely brought the virus under control within its borders. Competition among pharmaceutical companies racing to develop a Covid-19 shot has intensified, with two drugmakers, namely US company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, and another US firm Moderna, publishing large-scale trial data this month that showed their vaccine candidates to be around 95 percent effective against Covid-19.