In March 2023 the board of directors at CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Limited announced that the company’s COVID-19 mRNA vaccine has been included for emergency use in China for the prevention of COVID-19. This is the “first independently developed mRNA vaccine product in China” granted for emergency use, as reported by CSPC.
The vaccine, SYS6006, is an mRNA vaccine that covers the Omicron subvariant BA.5’s core mutation at the spike mutation positions. It was granted emergency clinical trial approval in April 2022, and has completed trials with over 5,500 participants to demonstrate safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy.
The statement from CSPC reports that SYS6006 “consistently induces specific T-cell immunity” against strains of SARS-CoV-2, with immunity sustained at “high levels for an extended period”.
“The Product adopts advanced technology with independent intellectual property rights, with the advantages of achieving higher production capacity, better process reproducibility, large-scale production, and scale-up more easily.”
Jumping into action
This inclusion comes at a time of regrowth for China following its stringent COVID-19 policy, the “zero COVID” approach. The New York Times suggests that it may be used to support efforts to “jump-start an economy that had been hurt” by among the “harshest COVID-19 restrictions in the world”. It also describes this vaccine as a “source of national pride” for the Communist Party leadership.
Although it is not clear when the vaccine will become available to the public, this announcement marks a step forward in enabling China to move forward from a complicated COVID-19 approach, particularly considering the leadership’s reluctance to accept externally developed mRNA vaccines.
If the quality of this vaccine can be proven to the people of China, perhaps greater headway can be made into establishing a more equal and effective vaccination trend across the population. Despite lack of clarity in reporting, we have learnt in the past of public reluctance due to confusion and mistrust.
We will hear much more about mRNA vaccine development efforts and applications at the World Vaccine Congress in Washington next month. If you would like to join us, get your tickets here.