Vastavam web: China has put its homegrown coronavirus vaccines on display for the first time, as the country where the contagion was discovered looks to shape the narrative surrounding the pandemic. High hopes hang on the small vials of liquid on show at a Beijing trade fair this week – vaccine candidates produced by Chinese companies Sinovac Biotech and Sinopharm. Neither has hit the market yet but the makers hope they will be approved after all-important phase 3 trials as early as year-end.
On Monday, people at the trade fair crowded around booths showing the potential game-changing vaccines. China, which is facing a storm of foreign criticism over its early handling of the pandemic, has been trying to repurpose the story of COVID-19.
They are also touting progress on domestic vaccines as a sign of Chinese leadership and resilience in the face of an unprecedented health threat that has pummelled the global economy. In May, President Xi Jinping pledged to make any potential vaccine developed by China a “global public good”.
As of last month, at least 5.7 billion doses of the vaccines under development around the world had been pre-ordered. But the World Health Organization has warned that widespread immunisation against COVID-19 may not be on the cards until the middle of next year.