South Korean vaccine maker says China will only use domestic vaccines

South Korean vaccine maker says China will only use domestic vaccines

South Korean vaccine maker says China will only use domestic vaccines

  • China has been grappling with rising COVID-19 cases since scrapping its zero COVID policy in December.
  • It has not yet approved mRNA vaccines. Officials say domestically developed vaccines are effective.
  • But SK Bioscience says China is unlikely to source foreign COVID-19 vaccines, due to “national pride”.

It’s no secret that China has been facing a flood of new COVID-19 infections since reversing its strict zero COVID stance.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean the country is likely to source much-needed COVID vaccines from outside parties – the CEO of South Korea’s top vaccine producer believes ‘national pride’ will keep China from sourcing vaccines strangers.

Jaeyong Ahn, the CEO of SK Bioscience in South Korea, was speaking to the Financial Times about the pharmaceutical giant’s global expansion plans, when he said it would be “unrealistic” for the company to provide vaccines developed by the company to China in the near future. future.

SK Bioscience has developed its own COVID-19 vaccine, which is now being used in South Korea. The vaccine is now seeking approval from the World Health Organization and the European Union.

And even though China is now in the “heart of the pandemic” and needs vaccines quickly, “dramatic discussions” must take place before the company can supply the country. This is because it is China’s “national pride”, Anh said, according to the FT.

A spokesperson for SK Bioscience told Insider that the company is not currently in talks with the Chinese government about supplying vaccines to the country. “We are carefully monitoring the pandemic situation in China at this time,” the spokesperson said.

China rushes to develop its own mRNA vaccines

China – facing a deluge of new infections and suspected deaths – is stepping up vaccinations, especially among the elderly, to get vaccinated. However, Chinese authorities have yet to approve local mRNA vaccines and have rejected offers of such vaccines from the United States, Bloomberg reported on Saturday, citing US officials.

“Vaccines and medical supplies from China are generally in sufficient quantity and the COVID situation is under control,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said at a press briefing scheduled for Friday. .

Liu Pengyu, spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC, told reporters during a Friday briefing that China produces more than enough vaccines for its domestic market and that they are as effective as vaccines. to mRNA to prevent serious diseases, according to a reading of the report. Embassy briefing sent to Insider, in response to a request for comment on the current outbreak in China.

Liu cited a study from the University of Hong Kong showing that three doses of Sinova Biotech’s CoronaVac were 97% effective against severe illness or death from COVID-19 in people aged 60 and over.

“China has administered 3.4 billion doses of COVID vaccines to its people, covering over 90% of its population,” Liu said. “The Chinese people have been able to resist during the most dangerous period, and this fully proves the safety and efficacy of vaccines.”

Even so, Chinese drugmakers are racing to produce mRNA vaccines against COVID-19. China’s CanSino Biologics on Thursday announced “positive” interim results from clinical trials of an mRNA booster vaccine, the company said in an exchange filing last Thursday.

After three years of a strict COVID-19 policy, Beijing abruptly rolled back its zero COVID policy in early December, triggering a wave of infections and deaths that reportedly overwhelmed hospitals and funeral homes.

The extent of the outbreak in China is unclear as Beijing has stopped releasing COVID case numbers since December 25. Beijing has officially reported about 30 coronavirus deaths since the country adopted its zero-COVID stance last month.

But Airfinity, a British health data company, estimated on December 29 that around 9,000 people die of COVID every day in China.

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