Home News China formulates plan to roll out vaccine before clinical trials are finished...

China formulates plan to roll out vaccine before clinical trials are finished in race against Trump

9

China formulates plan to roll out vaccine before clinical trials are finished in race against TrumpChina may deploy coronavirus vaccines as early as September to at-risk groups even if clinical trials have yet to be completed. In the latest sign it is ramping up competition with the US to produce a global cure, health officials are drafting guidelines for administering vaccines under testing to priority groups, such as medical personnel. China has five vaccines in phase II human trials – more than any other country. Vaccines can take years to develop, though authorities are keen to pull ahead as global competition heats up to find a solution for a disease devastating the world, infecting 6.6 million people and killing nearly 400,000. Success could also buoy China’s coronavirus-ravaged economy and help Beijing deflect global anger over its cover-up of the pandemic. It would also be a blow to Donald Trump’s “warp-speed” plans for a vaccine. “China would have quite a cherry…[if it] manages to come out with a vaccine that becomes generally accepted around the world,” said William Lee, chief economist of the MIlken Institute, a think tank tracking vaccine development. “That would be a coup.” China has already sunk 4 billion yuan (£450 million) into research and development of Covid-19 vaccines and therapies, and expects to spend more than double that in total, premier Li Keqiang said this week at a global vaccine summit. The pandemic has accelerated government plans to support growth and boost national security by investing in key sectors, including robotics and biomedicine. China is also building dozens of high-grade biosafety labs to study the most infectious pathogens. “We need to hold technological confidence in certain fields,” said Chen Wei, an army general and virologist overseeing China’s most promising vaccine. “We need to depend on our own strength, instead of others, to protect the population of more than one billion people.”