China’s state-backed coronavirus vaccine protected 86% of people from getting COVID-19 in trials conducted in the United Arab Emirates, reported media outlets including Reuters, citing the UAE’s health ministry.
The vaccine, developed by Sinopharm unit China National Biotec Group Co., has been granted emergency use authorization in the UAE and administered to front-line medical workers, government health officials and a number of senior ministers, the reports said. The shot already has emergency authorization in China and has been administered to hundreds of thousands of people there in recent months.
CNBG did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The 86% efficacy rate for one of China’s leading vaccine efforts ranks among the most effective the world has seen, making it a potentially more favorable option to vaccinate large swathes of population in the developing world than front-runner Western efforts.
The Chinese shot can be transported and stored at normal refrigerated temperatures, easing distribution challenges in nations lacking deep freeze facilities and trucks required for mRNA vaccines from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc., which showed higher efficacy of over 90%.
The efficacy rate of CNBG’s shot is also higher than the initial results from the vaccine co-developed by AstraZeneca PLC and the University of Oxford, which was found to protect 62% of trial participants when administered with two full doses.
The validation of its effectiveness will help deliver Chinese President Xi Jinping’s promise to make any working shot from China a “global public good.” Countries like Indonesia and Pakistan have signed deals with CNBG, while the company has enrolled more than 50,000 people across a dozen countries in the Middle East and South America for final stage trials.
The CNBG vaccine was made using an inactivated version of the coronavirus to prime human immune systems to fight it. It was among the first vaccine candidates that raced into the crucial final stage of human trials just four months after the novel coronavirus emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019. Nearly a year into the pandemic, over 68 million people have been infected and and more than 1.5 million killed.
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