Sinopharm’s protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate gets China clinical trial nod

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The China National Biotec Group Company (CNBG) has obtained regulatory approval to move a third COVID-19 vaccine candidate into the human testing stage in China, CNBG said on Saturday.

The subsidiary of state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) said that manufacturing the candidate, which is based on protein cultivated in factories, does not require facilities with high biosafety levels.

This means it could be easier to produce compared with the two CNBG vaccines already being used in China’s mass vaccination drive, which involve active coronavirus during production.

More than ten vaccine candidates led by Chinese scientists have entered different stages of clinical trials.

Four vaccines, two from Sinopharm CNBG, one from Sinovac Biotech and one from CanSino Biologics, have been cleared for use among the general public.

A fifth vaccine from the Institute of Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which is also based on protein, has gained the green light for limited emergency use.

Photo: EPA-EFE/Bienvenido Velasco