China claimed on Tuesday that its experimental vaccines for protection against COVID-19 have shown “no adverse reaction."
“So far, none of those who have received the ‘emergency use’ vaccine have shown severe adverse reactions," Zheng Zhongwei, a top official at China’s National Health Commission, was quoted as saying by the state-run Global Times newspaper.
Pharma giants in many countries have resisted the idea of taking a shortcut in rolling out an antigen for the novel virus.
China and Russia, however, have started vaccinating a select group of people with experimental shots, prompting a debate on risks of administering untested treatments on the public.
Zheng said the country has 13 vaccine candidates entering clinical trials, including four in Phase III trials.
“Sixty thousand volunteers have received four experimental vaccines... the difficulty now is in carrying out the trials as China's epidemic has been brought under control,” he said.
The official added that the emergency use of vaccines in China is “in line with the relevant laws concerning drug and vaccine development, which goes through a rigorous scientific argumentation process and approval process."
“Some Chinese who went abroad received their vaccinations voluntarily... so far, none of them have reported adverse side effects,” he said, adding that the price of Chinese COVID-19 vaccines “will certainly be within a scope that the public can accept."
Earlier this month, China joined Covax, an international initiative to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to countries worldwide. Some 172 states except the US, Russia and a few others, are participating in the program led by the World Health Organization, the GAVI vaccine alliance, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.
More than 100 coronavirus vaccines are in development across the world to ease the global crisis.
The disease has infected more than 40 million people and killed 1.1 million in 189 countries, according to the latest figures by US-based John Hopkins University.