China gives conditional approval to Sinopharm vaccine

BEIJING — China has given conditional approval to a coronavirus vaccine developed by state-owned Sinopharm.

The vaccine is the first one approved for general use in China.

Chen Shifei, the deputy commissioner of China’s National Medical Products Administration, said at a news conference Thursday that the decision had been made the previous night.

The vaccine is an inactivated, two-dose vaccine from the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, a subsidiary of state-owned conglomerate Sinopharm. The company announced Wednesday that preliminary data from last-stage trials had shown it to be 79.3% effective.

Sinopharm is one of at least five Chinese developers that are in a global race to create vaccines for the disease that has killed more than 1.8 million people.

The Beijing Institute vaccine is already under mass production, though officials did not answer questions about current production capacity.

“Production capacity is a dynamic and continuous process,” said Mao Junfeng, Vice Director of the Department of Industry of Consumer Products of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

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The name of China’s drug regulator has been corrected to the National Medical Products Administration, not the Medical Production Administration.

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