Pharmas lauded for aiding global pandemic fight

By LIU ZHIHUA | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-06-13 07:39
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Enterprises supply vaccines, other vital medical resources worldwide

On May 12, Chinese bio-pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech began building a vaccine factory in Quilicura, Chile, with a designated annual production capacity of 50 million doses.

Flavio Salazar, the South American nation's minister of science, technology, knowledge and innovation, said at a launch ceremony for the factory that the project is strategically important for the development of Chile's vaccine manufacturing industry, which has halted development for about 20 years.

Covering 21,000 square meters, the factory will produce and package vaccines designed to protect against diseases including COVID-19, hepatitis A and the flu. It is also aimed at enhancing the production of local vaccines.

To date, more than 26 million doses of the company's COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Chile.

Three days before the factory ceremony, Sinovac Biotech won an award from the Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises of Indonesia for its cooperation on COVID-19 control measures with such companies in the Southeast Asian country.

Sinovac Biotech has provided more than 280 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Indonesia, of which over 100 million were exported as semi-finished products, before being packaged by local SOE Bio Pharm, a Sinovac partner, for joint manufacturing of the coronavirus vaccine.

These are just two of the latest examples of the numerous contributions made by such Chinese companies in the global fight against the pandemic that have won recognition from governments and the public overseas.

Since the pandemic began, Chinese companies have provided many other nations with vaccines that were developed quickly, along with other key medical resources such as test kits and protective clothing.

With the emergence of the rapidly-spread and highly transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19, Chinese enterprises are expected to continue playing an important role in fighting the disease, which has claimed millions of lives worldwide and had a severe impact on the global economy.

On May 22, the World Health Organization warned that the pandemic was continuing, even as many countries lifted restrictions aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19.

More than 6 million deaths from the disease have been reported to the WHO, but the organization's latest estimates show that the number of fatalities is much higher, at nearly 15 million.

Global flows of foreign direct investment vital for sustainable development in poorer areas of the world have also been hit by the pandemic, causing widespread concern amid other uncertainties such as geopolitical issues.

In Beijing, Chen Jia, a researcher at Renmin University of China's International Monetary Institute, said more solutions from Chinese enterprises are expected to help the world strengthen its defenses against the pandemic, especially with the emergence of new variants, and with global industrial and supply chains under heavy pressure.

"Chinese pharmaceutical enterprises have become a major force for China to help the world narrow the vaccine divide-the inequitable allocation of COVID-19 vaccines," Chen said.

"These enterprises are constantly optimizing their research and development of new products to better deal with mutations of the virus and to make more contributions to containing the pandemic globally."

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