A staff member transports China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines at the Phnom Penh International Airport in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 31, 2021. (Photo/Xinhua)

Chinese vaccine makers are deepening cooperation with foreign countries to facilitate local production of their COVID-19 shots and promote technology transfers, as part of intensifying efforts to boost supplies in areas facing shortages.

Sinovac Biotech said last week that it plans to build a vaccine filling and packaging plant in Chile, with an investment of $60 million and an annual capacity of 50 million doses.

The facility, located in the Santiago region, is to be completed in the first quarter of next year.

“It is not only an important day for Chile, because once the factory produces vaccines here, they will be able to export them to Latin America,” Chilean Health Minister Enrique Paris was quoted as saying by Spanish news agency EFE during a ceremony held on Aug 4.

Sinovac is also contemplating the establishment of a vaccine research and development center in the country’s northern region of Antofagasta, to further expand cooperation in vaccine R&D, the company said at the ceremony.

Its two-dose COVID-19 vaccine gained emergency use approval from Chile in January. The country’s health authority said earlier this month that based on the latest real-world studies, the company’s vaccine is over 80 percent effective at preventing hospitalizations, severe cases or deaths.

As of the end of June, Sinovac has obtained emergency use authorization or conditional market approval from 50 countries and regions through bilateral deals, and has supplied vaccines to over 40 countries, mainly in Latin America, Southeast and South Asia and the Middle East.

“When we first initiated research into COVID-19 vaccines, we already considered the possibility of providing semifinished vaccine products to developing economies, and transferring our technology there on the basis of their local production capacity,” Yang Guang, chief business officer for Sinovac, said during a previous interview.

“In addition to establishing our own domestic manufacturing base, promoting local production (in foreign countries) can help truly deliver on the promise of making vaccines a global public good,” Yang said.

Yang said such cooperation was first launched in countries where Sinovac had conducted its third-stage clinical trials, including Brazil, Turkey and Indonesia, where demand is also high.

Sinovac is one of the major COVID-19 vaccine developers in China making headway in transferring technology overseas to bolster local supplies.

Sinopharm, the developer of another domestic two-shot vaccine, rolled out its vaccine filling and packaging factory in Serbia on July 12. The plant will produce an average of 3 million doses a month, and the first batch will be delivered to areas in Serbia.

On July 5, the company announced that it will work with a company in Morocco to help it make 5 million shots a month, based on an existing production line.

CanSino Biologics, the Chinese developer of a one-shot COVID-19 vaccine, has launched cooperation with countries including Mexico and Pakistan.

“From purchasing and examination of supplementary materials, to some self-developed vaccine quality testing regimes, we have brought Chinese technology in order to help Pakistan produce safe and effective vaccines,” said Xin Chunlin, a senior manager at the company, who headed a team to Pakistan in April.

Wang Hongyi, vice-president of the company’s international business department, said its vaccine is particularly useful for regions experiencing sudden outbreaks, areas planning to quickly vaccinate a certain group, such as teachers, or remote areas where its one-shot regime can save limited resources.

“Setting up plants overseas is one of the fields that we are focusing on. Establishing long-term, strategic cooperation programs will not only step up the fight against the virus, but also pave the way for further cooperation in the future,” he said.

Source: http://www.ecns.cn/news/2021-08-11/detail-ihapxtup7959910.shtml

Categories: COVID-19


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