A Chinese pharmaceutical company said on Wednesday that late-stage drug trials have shown that one of its coronavirus vaccines is effective and has achieved positive results, paving the way for the global promotion of hundreds of millions of doses of Chinese vaccines in the next few months.
The company is a state-owned holding company called Sinopharm. The company said that a vaccine candidate produced by its Beijing Institute of Biological Products was proven to be 79% effective in a phase 3 mid-term trial. Sinopharm said it has submitted an application to Chinese regulators to allow the vaccine to be widely used.
China’s efforts to develop indigenous vaccines demonstrate China’s technical and diplomatic ambitions. If Chinese vaccines can withstand global scrutiny, they will support China’s claims as a peer and competitor of the United States and other developed countries in the field of biomedical sciences.
The results of Sinopharm vaccine show that its effectiveness is not as effective as vaccines approved by other countries. Nonetheless, the results are still well above the 50% threshold for the vaccine to be effective in medical institutions.
Two other coronavirus vaccines produced by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech have shown an efficiency of about 95%. Pfizer’s BioNTech vaccine has been licensed in more than 40 countries. Moderna’s vaccine has been authorized in the United States, while other countries are evaluating its trial results. Russia announced that its artificial satellite V vaccine has an effective rate of 91% and has begun a large-scale vaccination campaign.
Beijing relies heavily on its vaccine promise to strengthen ties with developing countries that are seen as critical to China’s interests. Officials have toured around the world, promising to provide Chinese vaccines as a “global public good”. This is a charismatic offensive that the United States may seek to counterattack, especially when the movement is sweeping its backyard.
For the ruling Communist Party of China, the political interest in this vaccine race is particularly high. The Chinese Communist Party’s dictatorship was criticized for stifling information and downplaying the virus when it first appeared in Wuhan late last year. A successful vaccine, if it can be quickly rolled out to the world, will help restore the image of the party and its leader Xi Jinping on a global scale.