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China starts building COVID-19 vaccine production facility

Xinhua|Updated: 2020-12-22

KUNMING — China started the construction of a plant for manufacturing an mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine on Dec 21, with production operations due to begin in eight months, according to local authorities.

The facility in the city of Yuxi, in Southwest China's Yunnan province, is expected to produce 120 million doses per year in its first phase, with key manufacturing equipment and core ingredients all independently developed by China.

The vaccine was approved by the National Medical Products Administration for clinical drug trials on June 19, 2020, and is about to enter phase-II clinical trials.

It was jointly developed by the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, Suzhou Abogen Biosciences, and Yunnan-based Walvax Biotechnology Co Ltd.

In phase-I clinical trials, the vaccine was shown to be safe with good immunogenicity, and it has excellent stability in storage at 2-8 degrees Celsius, according to the vaccine developers.

The mRNA in the vaccine enters human cells and expresses antigens, which induces the immune system to respond so that the body can obtain immunity.