According to the official Wechat account of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, China completed its Phase 2 testing and will be mass-releasing a vaccine for the coronavirus as early as Q4 2020.
The two groups, The Beijing Institute of Biological Products and China National Biotec Group Co., are producing five variants of the vaccine with an estimated output of 100-120M vaccines per year.
According to Zeng Yixin, deputy director of the National Health Commission in the five vaccines tested among 2,575 volunteers, there have been no “major adverse reactions” reported.
Experts vary in estimations for how long a vaccine will take to fully develop and test, some saying 12-18 months at least should still be expected. Sinovac Biotech, the Beijing based biotech company responsible for one of the vaccines being developed in China will need to placebo test the vaccine with a large group. Because the concentration of COVID-19 is so low in China currently, Sinovac is expected to seek populations outside of greater China for study.
The discussion is currently taking place with the World Health Organization and officials in other countries to conduct a global Phase 3 trial, especially where rates of COVID-19 increase is rising quickly.
Sinovac CEO Yin Weidong commented, “To evaluate whether the vaccine can give protection, we need to study the relation between disease incidence and vaccination, you can’t do that when there’s no cases.”
Yin hinted at US being at the top of the company’s list for testing: “The U.S. has the most developed biotech industry, the most sophisticated regulatory framework and its epidemic is now the worst.”
Sinovac is eager to become the first to release a vaccine to the public, “We’ve got the vaccine ready,” Yin said. “Once any country approves the clinical trial, we will launch it immediately.”
For now, Sinovac joins the approximately 10 companies advancing to human testing out of about 100 globally.