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China Expects Virus Vaccine to Be Ready in November, Expert Says

China Expects Virus Vaccine to Be Ready in November, Expert Says

Vaccine Will Take Until Well Into 2021

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Coronavirus vaccine shots will be ready for public use as early as November or December in China, said the country’s top bio-safety scientist this week, a timeline that would make the Asian giant one of the first in the world to reach the milestone.

Final stage clinical trials of several vaccine candidates have progressed very smoothly, said Wu Guizhen, chief bio-safety expert at China’s Disease Control and Prevention Center, in an interview with state television on Tuesday. She herself took a vaccine shot in April and has felt “nothing abnormal.”

The projection comes amid U.S. President Donald Trump’s claim on Tuesday that a coronavirus shot could be ready within four weeks, which has triggered both hope and alarm. With the economic devastation of containment measures becoming too much to bear for many governments, political pressure has grown on drugmakers to deliver vaccines quickly.

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Two coronavirus vaccine production plants in China have received regulatory approval, while a third one is undergoing appraisal, said Wu.

China has four of the nine vaccine candidates that have progressed to final-stage trials in the race for immunization against Covid-19. Its experimental shots have moved rapidly, even as western frontrunner Astrazeneca Plc last week paused its trial of a shot developed with Oxford University due to a volunteer falling ill. The U.K.-based drugmaker has resumed trials in most countries.

As concerns grow that the U.S. government would attempt to greenlight a vaccine for public use ahead of the presidential election in early November, major western drugmakers have signed a pledge that they would not submit their vaccine candidates for regulatory approval before demonstrating safety in final stage trials.

— With assistance by Sharon Chen, and Claire Che