Employees arrange Sinopharm's COVID-19 vaccines at a facility in Casablanca, Morocco, in January. [Photo/Xinhua]
State drugmaker provided more than 2.5b doses to 112 regions, world bodies
The world's first COVID-19 vaccine developed by State-owned drugmaker Sinopharm marked the first anniversary of its registration and its launch in the market on Thursday.
At the same time, the drugmaker has started research and development of vaccines against the latest COVID-19 variant, Omicron, along with research on the variant's structure, the company said in Beijing.
Back in June 2020, China and the United Arab Emirates started to conduct phase 3 clinical trials of an inactivated COVID-19 vaccine in the UAE. It was also the first time that China sent a team of nearly 100 experts to conduct vaccine research overseas.
With a half year's efforts and help from some 63,000 volunteers, the two countries conducted sufficient joint experiments, and the first vaccine was finally debuted and registered in the UAE in December last year.
Later on, Sinopharm's COVID-19 vaccine was registered and debuted in 10 countries, including Bahrain, Bolivia, Seychelles, Thailand, Malaysia, Morocco and Peru.
So far, the vaccine has been approved for emergency use or market access in 112 countries, regions and international organizations. Sinopharm has provided more than 2.5 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to China and overseas markets, the company said.
"In March this year, China and the UAE launched Sinopharm's vaccine production line in the UAE. Now, the UAE has become one of the most vaccinated countries," said Zhou Biao, minister counselor of the Chinese embassy in the UAE.
"The vaccine has played an important role in helping the UAE fight the pandemic and daily new cases of COVID-19 in the UAE have dropped to about 50. China and the UAE will continue to strengthen their cooperation in the R&D and production of vaccines," Zhou said.
Sinopharm's COVID-19 vaccine has become the one that has been approved in the most countries, and most widely accepted for vaccinations worldwide. The company has built six production plants and three labs in China, and the annual vaccine production capacity has exceeded 7 billion doses.
Sinopharm has also cooperated with Serbia, Morocco, Bangladesh and Hungary for COVID-19 vaccine packaging overseas.
"The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines donated overseas by the Chinese government was Sinopharm's vaccines," said Guo Xuejun, deputy director-general of the Department of International Economic Affairs of the Foreign Ministry.
"In the past year, Sinopharm exported vaccines with reasonable prices, and it also donated a large number of vaccines to developing countries. We hope the pandemic prevention and control situation will get increasingly better," Guo said.
Sinopharm is continuously expanding its footprint by establishing R&D, production and sales branches around the world. It now has 43 overseas branches.