AstraZeneca's China partner expects to be able to make 400 million COVID-19 vaccine doses a year

AstraZeneca's China partner expects to be able to make 400 million COVID-19 vaccine doses a year

FILE PHOTO: COVID-19 vaccinations in Newcastle upon Tyne
File photo: A health worker draws a dose of the AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine on Jan 30, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Lee Smith)

BEIJING: China's Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products said on Tuesday (Feb 2) it has completed a facility designed to be able to produce 400 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine per year, doubling a capacity target promised in 2020.

"Kangtai is actively pushing forward procedures for the vaccine's clinical trial and registration in China, and has completed a manufacturing plant and started trial production," the Shenzhen-based firm said in a press release.

The firm obtained rights to supply the AZD1222 vaccine, developed by the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker and Oxford University, in mainland China last year in return for having the capacity to produce at least 200 million doses by the end of 2021.

READ: China cracks fake COVID-19 vaccine ring, confiscates 3,000 doses

The vaccine might be approved for use in China by mid-2021 after gathering safety data from Phase I and II trials in China and efficacy data from late-stage trials overseas, Leon Wang, head of AstraZeneca's China operation, said in November.

SYRINGE MAKERS UNDER PRESSURE

Chinese syringe makers are warning that they may only be able to fulfil some orders as late as June, as global coronavirus vaccination programmes put unprecedented levels of pressure on their factory lines and snarl the country's own vaccine efforts.

Companies told Reuters that they were working around the clock, raising prices and trying to expand factory lines. China and India are the world's biggest producers of syringes, industry executives said.

READ: Chinese syringe producers under pressure as COVID-19 vaccination programmes drive order surge

Zhejiang KangKang Medical Devices began receiving export contracts for 10 million to 20 million syringes each in December, compared with order sizes of about 5 million each before the pandemic, thanks to overseas vaccination programmes, Guo Chun, its general manager, told Reuters.

The company, a unit of Wanbangde Pharmaceutical Holding, was adding capacity to quadruple its production for certain types of syringes by May, but until then can only partly fulfil large orders, he said.

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Source: Reuters/mi

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