Beijing has approved a coronavirus vaccine developed by the China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), for public use. It comes a day after the inoculation was reported to have shown nearly 80 percent efficacy.
The vaccine has received the go-ahead from the National Medical Products Administration, China’s agency for regulating drugs and medical devices, an official with the watchdog told a press conference on Thursday.
The decision paves the way for a widespread rollout of the vaccine across the country, making it the first inoculation to be greenlit for a mass-vaccination campaign in the original pandemic hotspot.
The approval is conditional, as trials are still underway. A day before the announcement, the state-owned developer of the vaccine revealed that preliminary analysis of the phase-three trial showed it was safe to use and 79.34 percent effective against Covid-19.
While the inoculation is the brainchild of Sinopharm’s subsidiary, China National Biotec Group, China was not the first country to clear the jab for use on the general public – the United Arab Emirates sanctioned the vaccine for mass use earlier this month. However, the UAE’s own trials, conducted earlier in December, showed a higher effectiveness rate of about 86 percent.
Sinopharm’s vaccine is one of several Chinese inoculations in their advanced trial stages. Since the summer, Beijing has distributed ome 1.5 million doses of two different Sinopharm products across the country, as well as one developed by Sinovac, via emergency-use legislation.