Sinopharm, a Chinese drugmaker said on Wednesday that its coronavirus vaccine was found to be 79.3-per-cent effective in preliminary data from the final round of testing before approval.
State-owned Sinopharm is among at least five Chinese companies that have been approved to carry out clinical trials for potential vaccines.
China has 15 coronavirus vaccines in clinical trials, including five that have entered phase 3 clinical trials, a State Council official said last week.
Wednesday’s announcement was the first time a Chinese company released late-stage trial efficacy data for a vaccine candidate.
Sinopharm’s vaccine efficacy rate is behind those reported by U.S. companies Pfizer, of 95 per cent, and Moderna, of 94 per cent.
The announcement comes as China is pushing to vaccinate at least 50 million people before the start of the Lunar New Year holiday, in mid-February, in order to prevent the disease from spreading as hundreds of millions of people are expected to travel home for the holidays.
Although a vaccine hasn’t yet been officially approved, thousands in China already started receiving the vaccine months ago, especially members of the military and government workers.
Experts warn against risks tied to receiving unapproved vaccines.