China’s Coronavirus Vaccine Drive Empowers a Troubled Industry

Sinovac Biotech’s laboratory in Beijing.
Nicolas Asfouri/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Date Published: May 4, 2020

Source: The New York Times

Four companies in China have started testing vaccine candidates on humans. However, there is concern that this has empowered a vaccine industry that has had quality concerns and scandals. As a result, “‘the Chinese now do not have confidence in the vaccines produced in China,’ said Ray Yip, the former head of the Gates Foundation in China.” The dean of the pharmacy school at Tsinghua University in Beijing, Ding Sheng, has said some companies are using unconventional methods. He was quoted saying,  “I understand the people’s eager anticipation of a vaccine, but from a scientific point of view, no matter how anxious we are, we cannot lower our standards.” Chen Wei, the Chinese military’s top virologist, is leading an effort that is the first vaccine candidate proceed to Phase 2 trials. The trial is a double blind experiment, with participants divided into a low-dose, medium-dose, or placebo group.

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Summary by: Jayoti Rana