Sinopharm is developing its own mRNA vaccine for COVID-19, becoming one of the first big Chinese pharmaceutical groups to pursue the technology to combat the disease, reported the Financial Times.
The state-owned company's move comes as concerns grow over the efficacy of conventional inactivated virus vaccines, which have dominated the rollout in China, with some studies suggesting those jabs produce fewer antibodies than mRNA shots.
Zhu Jingjin, the Chinese Communist party secretary of China National Biotec Group, a unit of Sinopharm, said it was developing an mRNA vaccine as well as a broad-spectrum recombinant protein vaccine that was in clinical trials.
"We have developed vaccines against [the] Delta and Beta variants," Zhu said, adding that the Phase I and II clinical trials had been completed for the recombinant protein shot.
Smaller producer Walvax Biotechnology is already conducting trials of an mRNA jab, although the news source said the entry of a larger player such as Sinopharm could give the technology a significant boost in China.
Walvax said last week in a stock exchange filing that it had obtained approval from the governments of Mexico and Indonesia to conduct Phase III trials for its mRNA candidate. The shot is being jointly developed with China's Suzhou Abogen Biosciences.
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