PRETORIA – CHINA has consistently advanced the research and development (R&D) of COVID-19 vaccines among the BRICS countries, spearheading the global fight against the pandemic.
BRICS is an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
It is the first country to propose COVID-19 vaccine as a global public good, the first to support vaccine intellectual property rights exemption and the first to carry out cooperation in vaccine production with developing countries, playing a positive role in boosting steady economic recovery for all countries.
Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac has made progress in the joint R&D as well as collaborative production of COVID-19 vaccines with BRICS countries.
Since June 2020, Sinovac has carried out cooperation with the Butantan Institute of Brazil to conduct a number of clinical studies, the most important of which is the Phase III clinical trial of the vaccine that has involved more than 10,000 volunteers.
More than 112 million doses of the CoronaVac vaccine have been administered in Brazil since the beginning of the vaccination campaign in 2021.
In 2021, a Phase III clinical trial of the Chinese vaccine among 4,500 people aged between six months and 17 years has demonstrated sound safety and immunogenicity among juveniles, especially children aged from six months to three years, in South Africa.
Another COVID-19 vaccine, developed by China’s Sinopharm, has been approved for use in South Africa among people aged 18 and older, South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) said on Feb. 7, 2022.
The cooperation in vaccine R&D between China and the other BRICS countries like Brazil and South Africa is based on the complementary advantages, said Meng Weining, deputy general manager of Sinovac Life Sciences Co., Ltd.
Sinovac expects to strengthen its cooperation with BRICS countries and beyond, and will continue to provide vaccine products, jointly enhance the R&D and production capacity of vaccines and improve the capability of infectious disease prevention and control, Meng said.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, BRICS countries have supported one another with medical supplies and carried out extensive cooperation on infection prevention and control, diagnosis and treatment protocols, and vaccines and drug research and development.
Hosted by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, the online launch ceremony of the BRICS Vaccine R&D Center was held on March 22, 2022.
During this ceremony, the BRICS countries jointly proposed an initiative to strengthen vaccine cooperation to ensure the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in developing countries through their equitable distribution as global public goods.
Furthermore, this initiative is aimed at enhancing BRICS countries’ capability to control infectious diseases and respond to public health events.
China will work with other BRICS countries to promote exchanges and cooperation on vaccine R&D and testing, Minister of Science and Technology Wang Zhigang said during the launch ceremony.
– Xinhua News