On March 22, China authorized its first mRNA COVID-19 vaccine from CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd after turning down the use of Western COVID-19 vaccine shots. Beginning in 2020, China began developing its own messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines.
The anticipated authorization arrives after China's COVID-19 cases have diminished following its "zero-COVID" in December 2022. Scientists say the new vaccine will prepare the country for any future outbreaks and potentially provide some guidelines for possible variants.
CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd says there were significantly fewer side effects in elders compared with the adult group. This can be beneficial to the country as it focused on sheltering the elderly against the virus.
The company's newly authorized vaccine, mRNA vaccine SYS6006, will provide protection against major Omicron variants. The booster is also effective against Omicron subvariants including BA.5, BF.7, BQ.1.1., XBB.1.5 and CH.1.1.
Data from 4,000 participants from December 10 to January 18 was collected during clinical trials when China was undergoing a heightened number of COVID-19 infections. The vaccine was shown to be 85.3% effective 14 to 28 days following the booster shot. The pharmaceutical company is yet to reveal how many doses it will manufacture.
"The group has built a good manufacturing practice-compliant production plant (for the vaccine)," reveals the statement. "Key raw materials and excipients are produced by the group, which enables independent control in the supply chain and significantly lower production cost."
In April 2022, the pharmaceutical company obtained emergency approval for the mRNA vaccines for clinical trials. CSPC says their net profit grew by 8.7%, along with the production of other generic drugs. The company's shares also increased by 7.7% after the authorization and news of the new vaccine.
In December 2022, WHO officials said mRNA vaccines "produce a very effective form of immunity and some countries have used mRNA vaccines as a booster methodology."