NASSAU, BAHAMAS — As part of its growing bilateral relations, The Bahamas will be among the beneficiaries of China’s COVID-19 vaccine when approved for general use, according to Counselor at the Chinese Embassy Haigang Yin.
In an interview with Eyewitness News, Yin said China has provided The Bahamas with five separate donations of medical supplies, and technical support, including treatment protocols for the novel coronavirus.
Two weeks ago, Minister of Health Renward Wells confirmed the government committed $2 million to inoculate at least 20 percent of its population when an approved vaccine becomes available through the World Health Organization’s, and Pan American Health Organization’s, COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility
Asked whether the country could also benefit directly from an approved vaccine in China, many of which have advanced to the final phase of clinical trials, Yin said: “Of course.”
“The WHO and PAHO are actually leading the efforts of the coordinated work to achieve the final vaccine to fight against the virus,” Yin said.
“China is also making progress in this regard.
“Our leaders and the foreign minister of China have stated several times that vaccines could be a public product for the whole of humanity.
“We are ready to share the vaccine when it’s matured.
“China, actually several companies in China, are engaged deeply in the development of vaccines at this time.
“I’m not an expert, but I know that they are in the last stage of testing the validation of the vaccines at this time.
“I am sure once the vaccines are matured and confirmed by the international organizations, the Chinese side is ready to share with other interested parties.”
Asked whether The Bahamas could directly benefit from its existing partnership, Yin said: “Of course.”
“We have already provided five rounds of medical supplies to The Bahamas, as well as technical support,” Yin said.
“The embassy has had very frequent communication with the Ministry of Health.
To date, there have been no approved vaccines for general use.
However, at least nine vaccine candidates remain in phase three of clinical trials — ‘vaccines in large-scale efficacy trials’ — while another 18 vaccine candidates remain in phase two or expanded safety trials.
At least of such vaccines are being developed in China: CanSino Biologics Inc/Beijing Institute of Biotechnology (phase three); Wuhan Institute of Biological Products/Sinopharm (phase three); Chinese-firm Sinovac (phase three); Beijing Institute of Biological Products/Sinopharm (phase three); and Institute of Medical Biology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (phase two).
According to the research team behind China’s vaccine candidate ‘CoronaVac’, there have been no severe adverse effects discovered thus far.
Co-developed by Tianjin-based biotechnology firm Biologics Inc and infectious diseases expert Chen Wei, the earliest group of 108 volunteers began receiving injections in mid-March in Wuhan for phase one of the clinical trials of the ‘Recombinant Novel Coronavirus Vaccine’ (Ad5-nCoV).
According to the Global Times, the six-month follow-up medical observation for China’s first batch of COVID-19 vaccine volunteers ends on the weekend.
The volunteers will complete the final blood sample collection to determine antibody levels.
The candidate vaccine is expected to move to the final phase of clinical trials.
The research team behind the vaccine is expected to provide a second dose on a voluntary basis to boost volunteers’ immunity against the virus, according to the Global Times.
Several other vaccine candidates in the advanced clinical trial phase have been provided to tens of thousands of Chinese as part of its emergency-use provision.