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Coronavirus vaccine approved for military use in China

Soldiers in front of a sign marking the 70th founding anniversary of People's Republic of China before the military parade at Tiananmen Square. PHOTO: REUTERS. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

BEIJING, Jun 29, 2020, AFP. China’s military has approved a coronavirus vaccine for use within its ranks that has been developed by its research unit and a biotech firm, the company said Monday (Jun 29), Bangkok Post reported.

Organisations around the world are racing to find ways to treat and prevent the deadly pathogen, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and has since killed over half a million people worldwide.

More than half of 17 candidate vaccines identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) that are in clinical evaluation involve Chinese companies or institutes.

Hong Kong-listed CanSino Biologics said in a filing to the stock exchange that data from clinical trials showed the Chinese military vaccine had a “good safety profile” and potential to prevent disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

CanSino said Monday that China’s Central Military Commission approved the use of the vaccine on June 25, for one year.

The vaccine was jointly developed by CanSino and the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology, part of the Academy of Military Medical Sciences.

Its use cannot be expanded without further approvals, the listing said.

It was not clear how widely it would be used within China’s enormous military forces, and the ministry of defence did not reply to an AFP request for further information.

CanSino added that it cannot guarantee the vaccine — which had its phase one and two clinical trials done in China — will ultimately be commercialised.

Another 131 candidate vaccines listed by the WHO are in the pre-clinical phase.

None have yet been approved for commercial use against the coronavirus.

According to medical journal The Lancet there have already been more than 1,000 clinical trials on dozens of pharmaceutical treatments for the virus but no totally effective medical intervention has been found.

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