China approves two more COVID-19 vaccines for wider use

China has approved two more COVID-19 vaccines for wider use, adding to its growing arsenal of shots

It is the first COVID-19 vaccine developed by a Chinese company that requires only one shot.

A Sinopharm subsidiary, the Wuhan Institute of Biologics, said its vaccine candidate is 72.51% effective. It uses the same technology as a vaccine that has already been approved from Sinopharm's Beijing subsidiary in which a live virus is killed and then purified. The inactivated virus is delivered via injection, triggering an immune response.

Neither company has publicly released final testing data showing safety and efficacy.

CanSino's vaccine was jointly developed with a team led by military researcher Chen Wei at the Institute of Military Medicine under the Academy of Military Sciences in China.

It has been given to approximately 150,000 military personnel, according to Xuefeng Yu, CanSino’s CEO.

The last stage of trials involved more than 40,000 volunteers and was carried out across five countries — Pakistan, Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Russia.

Both Mexico and Pakistan have approved CanSino's vaccine.

The company has less production power than vaccine maker Sinovac and Sinopharm, which have both said they will be able to manufacture 1 billion shots annually by the end of this year. Chen, the military researcher, has said in state media that CanSino can produce up to 300 million doses per year. A spokeswoman for CanSino declined to comment, saying the company will release a statement in a stock exchange filing on Friday.

The Wuhan Institute said its vaccine underwent its last stage of testing in the United Arab Emirates and other countries. The size of the clinical trials and where they were conducted were not immediately clear.

The Wuhan Institute's vaccine has been in use after receiving emergency approval in China last June. The company said it can produce up to 100 million doses per year.

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Associated Press medical writer Lauran Neergaard in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

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