China's vaccine map: Chinese COVID-19 vaccines in last phase to join COVAX
Editor's note: This is the weekly wrap-up of Chinese COVID-19 vaccines' contribution in the global fight against the virus for April 19-25, 2021.
China is moving fast against the virus, especially the mutated variants, with two of its vaccines entering the last phase to join the globally recognized COVAX vaccine initiative.
China's top respiratory expert said on Saturday that the country is "going all out to develop vaccines against the mutated novel coronavirus."
"The main problem people are currently experiencing is the virus variants," said Zhong Nanshan at a medical science forum in Guangzhou City, south China's Guangdong Province.
More than 1,000 variant stains are reportedly circulating worldwide and some of them appear to be more contagious and deadly than the original virus, as COVID-19 continues to rage across the globe despite countries rolling out vaccination campaigns.
Existing inactivated COVID-19 vaccines have been found to be less effective against the B.1.351 variant first detected in South Africa, said Zhong.
Meanwhile, China continues to help foreign countries in their fight against the deadly virus with its promise of making the jabs as a global public good.
Syria became the latest Asian country to receive the first batch of Chinese vaccines on Saturday as the country sees rising COVID-19 cases amid the third wave of the pandemic.
"We appreciate this support that will enable the health ministry to fight the spread of this pandemic and limit its health, social and economic impacts, especially in these difficult times that Syria is going through," said Syrian Health Minister Hasan al-Ghabash at a press conference.
In the past week, some countries received new batches of Chinese vaccines. For example, Thailand and the Philippines respectively received fourth and third batches of Chinese vaccines, and a new batch of China's Sinovac vaccine arrived in Brazil.
In Malaysia, China's CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine got approval of a conditional registration. Pharmaniaga LifeScience Sdn Bhd is handling the fill-finish process of vaccine manufacturing.
Madagascar, the world's second-largest island country, would seek to acquire the Sinopharm vaccine to be used during the country's planned mass COVID-19 vaccination drive, according to the country's President Andry Rajoelina whose government is seeking to contain a third wave of the virus.
In the future days, Chinese vaccines are set to benefit more people globally as two of them are set to join the widely recognized COVAX program, which is co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
Two Chinese COVID-19 vaccine candidates, from Sinopharm and Sinovac, are in the final stage of evaluation for the WHO's Emergency Use List and the "final decision" reportedly will be made between April 26 and May 3.
Once granted the global health agency's emergency use licensing, the global confidence in the two Chinese vaccines is said to get further boosted.