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Sinopharm: R&D on vaccine against new variants has begun

By Zhu Wenqian | China Daily | Updated: 2021-12-07 06:59
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Employees arrange Sinopharm's COVID-19 vaccines at a facility in Casablanca, Morocco, in January. [Photo/Xinhua]

Sinopharm is conducting research and development on vaccines against the latest COVID-19 variants, including Omicron, the State-owned drugmaker said.

China has fulfilled its promise to provide COVID-19 vaccines as an international public good via donations, sales and joint manufacturing. Sinopharm stands as the first company globally to start the R&D of COVID-19 vaccines, which were among the first batch approved for injection, said Sinopharm at the 2021 Belt and Road Trade and Investment Forum in Beijing on Thursday.

So far, Sinopharm has provided 2.5 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to China and overseas markets, and nearly 1 billion doses have been provided to more than 100 countries. Its annual production capacity has reached nearly 7 billion doses.

A large number of the beneficiaries were countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, where many have suffered severely from the pandemic, the company said.

Apart from the vaccines, Sinopharm has provided COVID-19 prevention goods and diagnostic reagents to BRI economies, and helped them build hospitals, it said.

"In Myanmar, Sinopharm has set up two hospitals, and they are operating well," said Shi Shengyi, vice-president of Sinopharm and chairwoman of the board of Sinopharm International Corp.

"In Ecuador, we provided medical equipment to more than 130 public hospitals and helped them with operations and maintenance. In the United Arab Emirates, our vaccine production facility has been completed. In Morocco and Serbia, we are building new vaccine production facilities.

"In Bosnia and Herzegovina, we are building a hospital, which is also the first medical cooperation project between China and Central and Eastern European countries. Next, there will be more such operations abroad."

The Malaysian Ambassador to China, Raja Dato' Nushirwan Zainal Abidin, said COVID-19 has been a major challenge for all. However, certain developments have proved that the momentum of international trade and economic integration between countries in East Asia in particular is now practically unstoppable.

Sinopharm is expanding its footprint globally by establishing R&D, production and sales branches worldwide. It now has 43 overseas branches, with 23 located in BRI markets.

In addition, Sinopharm is providing training sessions in China for health experts from less-developed countries. Some of them have become major medical professionals in their countries after the training program, the company said.

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