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Coronavirus vaccines developed in Japan are unlikely to become available for practical use until at least 2022, according to industry officials.

Only one company in Japan is conducting a trial of a vaccine.

Britain plans to start the distribution of a vaccine developed by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. and German partner BioNTech SE as early as next week.

AnGes Inc., a startup originating from Osaka University, leads in the vaccine development race in Japan.

In June, AnGes started a trial of a vaccine made from a copied part of the virus’ DNA. A second phase began last month.

The company initially aimed to receive approval for the vaccine next spring. But the timing is now uncertain as it needs to consider a trial covering several tens of thousands of people.

Shionogi & Co. is developing a vaccine with the COVID-19 antigen protein made with genetic engineering.

It aims to launch a trial by the end of this year and conduct a large-scale trial covering people in and outside Japan next year. The company plans to provide 30 million doses a year.

KM Biologics Co., a unit of food and pharmaceuticals group Meiji Holdings Co., and Daiichi Sankyo Co. are set to launch a trial in March next year.

ID Pharma Co., a unit of I’rom Group Co., which supports drug development, is expected to do so between March and May next year.

Foreign rivals lead the development of vaccines because know-how has been accumulated even in peacetime from the perspective of national security, an official at a major Japanese pharmaceutical firm said.

“We can make a vaccine for another coronavirus pandemic swiftly if we accumulate know-how,” a KM Biologics official said.

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