A day after the U.K. approved a vaccine made by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, China approved its first Covid-19 vaccine developed by state-owned pharmaceutical conglomerate Sinopharm.
Beijing Biological Products Institute, a unit of Sinopharm subsidiary, announced its vaccine is safe and 79.34% effective. To compare, Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines have both shown to be around 95% effective.
Unlike Pfizer's and Moderna's vaccines which use a revolutionary gene-based platform called mRNA, the Chinese vaccine uses an inactivated virus that causes the body to produce antibodies, a conventional approach to innoculation.
With less than 20 new cases per day reported, people in China might not need the vaccine.
Local news reported that some of the late-stage trials got delayed as companies couldn't collect enough data in China due to a dearth of reported cases.
According to Reuters, while China has been slower than other counties in approving vaccines, “it has been inoculating some citizens for months with three different shots still undergoing late-stage trials.”
State media say that more than 4.5 million doses have already been administered to essential workers in China as of Dec. 15.
Chinese vaccine makers are currently conducting clinical studies in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Peru, Argentina, and Morocco.
One recent research study concluded that a vaccine "has to have an efficacy of at least 70% to prevent an epidemic and of at least 80% to largely extinguish an epidemic without any other measures (e.g., social distancing)."
With more counties starting to distribute Covid-19 vaccines, the pandemic might come to an end in what is surely a very anticipated new year.