By Xie Yahong, Zhou Zhou, People’s Daily
So far, China has provided over 2.2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines for more than 120 countries and international organizations, and achieved an annual COVID-19 vaccine production capacity of one billion doses overseas by transferring technologies to and carrying out cooperation on vaccine production with more than 20 countries.
One of the projects between China and foreign countries on the production of vaccines is located in the Khalifa Industrial Zone, which is 60 kilometers north to downtown Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Construction of the project jointly launched by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinopharm and Abu Dhabi-based technology company Group 42 (G42), a vaccine production base to be built to a high specification, is well underway.
Two main factory buildings of the base begin to take shape, while the installation of indoor electromechanical equipment and outdoor piping and wiring systems is progressing in an orderly manner.
Dozens of technical professionals from China National Biotec Group (CNBG), a bioscience subsidiary of Sinopharm, are working at the construction site of the project, according to Naser Alyammahi, an executive from G42.
The professionals have actively shared their experience in vaccine manufacturing technologies, quality management, biosecurity management and other fields with their UAE counterparts, the executive pointed out.
“Members of the Chinese team came to the UAE at the most severe time of the COVID-19 pandemic. They have braved hot, windy and sandy conditions, worked hard and fully performed their duties, contributing to the China-UAE anti-pandemic cooperation,” said the executive, disclosing that the vaccine production base will be operated by Hayat Biotech, a UAE-based joint venture between Sinopharm CNBG and G42.
When completed, the production base will be the largest preparation, warehousing, and distribution center of multiple types of vaccines in the UAE and even the Middle East region. It will be able to manufacture many types of vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccines with an expected annual production capacity of 200 million doses.
Over the past two years, China and the UAE have helped and supported each other, worked together to overcome difficulties, enhanced anti-pandemic cooperation and constantly deepened their comprehensive strategic partnership.
During this period, the UAE has become a regional center for the manufacturing, distribution and transportation of vaccines, as well as one of the countries with the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the world.
Clinical data collected in the UAE has proven that Chinese COVID-19 vaccines developed by Sinopharm have shown good performance in efficacy and safety and played a critical role in the global fight against the pandemic, said Alyammahi.
“The vaccine production base will significantly improve the capacity of the UAE for research, development, and production of biological medicine. Meanwhile, the benefits of local shipping and logistics services ensure a quick supply of vaccines to North Africa, South America, and other regions,” he added.
In Serbia, the Chinese-developed vaccines have been taken to more than 80 percent of the whole vaccination population. The antibody level in about 90 percent of those who received Chinese vaccines was considerably enhanced after the booster injection, according to the results of a study conducted by Serbian virologist Dr. Tanja Jovanović.
At present, the first Chinese vaccine factory in Europe is under construction in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. After it is officially put into operation, the factory is expected to produce about 30 million doses of vaccines and fill 10 million doses of bulk inactivated COVID-19 vaccines annually. It will be able to satisfy the needs of Serbia and its neighboring countries for COVID-19 vaccines.
With the timely help of China, Serbia has effectively pushed forward with COVID-19 prevention and control and protected the lives of its people, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said in an interview.
Chinese COVID-19 vaccines have continuously promoted the development of global public health and the building of the global immunity barrier.
In December 2021, Nicaragua received one million doses of COVID-19 vaccines donated by China. The numbers of new confirmed cases, hospitalized cases and the death toll of COVID-19 in Nicaragua are all maintained at a relatively low level, which is attributed to Chinese vaccines, said Christian Toledo, director-general of surveillance at Nicaragua’s Ministry of Health.
China has provided vaccines for Nicaragua, which is a great thing that helps improve people’s livelihoods in the country, Toledo said.
In mid-May, a new batch of 2.5 million doses of China-donated COVID-19 vaccines developed by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac arrived in Quito, the capital of Ecuador.
So far, more than 13.9 million people in the country have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccines, accounting for around 83 percent of the target population. About 53 percent of the COVID-19 vaccines Ecuador has received came from China.
Thanks to its relatively high COVID-19 vaccination rate, Ecuador has effectively brought the pandemic under control and is witnessing a steady recovery in social and economic development.
Sinovac has reached agreements with authorities of multiple Latin American countries, including Ecuador, Chile, Colombia and Brazil, on the establishment of factories for the manufacturing of vaccines including those against COVID-19.
Without Chinese vaccines, Ecuador’s vaccination schedule would have been severely compromised, said Ecuadorian Health Minister Ximena Garzon, who noted that China’s support is a guarantee of Ecuador’s defeating the COVID-19 pandemic.