World

Chinese coronavirus vaccine approved for military use

BEIJING China's military has approved for use within its ranks a coronavirus vaccine that has been developed by its research unit and a biotech company, which made the announcement yesterday.

Organisations around the world are racing to find ways to treat and prevent the deadly pathogen.

More than half of 17 candidate vaccines identified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that are in clinical evaluation involve Chinese companies or institutes.

Hong Kong-listed CanSino Biologics said in a filing to the stock exchange that data from clinical trials showed the Chinese military vaccine had a "good safety profile" and potential to prevent disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

CanSino said yesterday that China's Central Military Commission approved the use of the vaccine on June 25, for one year.

The vaccine was jointly developed by CanSino and the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology, part of the Academy of Military Medical Sciences. Its use cannot be expanded without further approvals, the listing said.

It was not clear how widely it would be used within China's enormous military forces, and the Ministry of Defence did not reply to an AFP request for further information.

CanSino added that it cannot guarantee the vaccine - which had its phase one and two clinical trials done in China - will ultimately be commercialised.

According to medical journal The Lancet, there have already been more than 1,000 clinical trials on dozens of pharmaceutical treatments for the virus but no totally effective medical intervention has been found.

China reported 12 new confirmed Covid-19 cases as ofSunday, down from 17 reported a day earlier, the country's National Health Commission said yesterday. Its total cases now stand at 83,512, while the total death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.

Meanwhile, South Korea's health authorities called yesterday for citizens to stagger vacation schedules ahead of the holiday season and avoid gatherings at workplaces and religious facilities, as infections from small clusters continued to persist.

As of midnight Sunday, South Korea reported 42 new coronavirus cases, increasing the total to 12,757 with 282 deaths.

On June 20, the daily tally recorded 67 cases, the highest in more than three weeks. - AFP, REUTERS

WORLD