Production of one-dose vaccine starts in Shanghai
The production of a single-shot COVID-19 vaccine made by CanSino SPH Biologics Inc, the first novel coronavirus vaccine producer in Shanghai, was launched in the city on Thursday.
"The vaccine, named Convidecia, is the only single-dose COVID-19 vaccine among the seven vaccines approved in China against the novel coronavirus," said Zhu Tao, co-founder and chief scientific officer of CanSino, China's vaccine specialist based in Tianjin.
Developed by CanSino, Convidecia was first approved for conditional marketing in February last year.
Health authorities believe the one-dose vaccine can help facilitate mass vaccination more rapidly and is more convenient for individuals who are on a tight schedule or have limited mobility.
Early last year, CanSino, the Shanghai Pharmaceuticals Holding Co and the Shanghai Biomedical Industry Equity Investment Fund inked a joint venture agreement to establish CanSino SPH to produce Convidecia, which requires only one shot and offers total protection within 14 days.
Relying on the advantages of the whole industry chain of Shanghai's pharmaceuticals, CanSino SPH built a 50,000-square-meter production facility with impressive speed and quality.
"It took less than 10 months from establishing the joint venture to producing the vaccine," said Gao Yiyi, governor of Baoshan district, where the factory is located.
"With professional knowledge and resource integration, the factory has established stable, efficient drug production and a quality management system, and it can achieve an annual production capacity of 200 million doses of the vaccine," the enterprise said in a news release.
CanSino SPH said that the core production procedures－cleaning, sterilization, bottling, capping and inspection－are all automated via advanced intelligent manufacturing technology and information sensing equipment.
All the procedures, including weighing the bottles to ensure the vaccine amount in each is accurate, are performed by operators working online in an effort to reduce the number of people working on-site in the production area.
CanSino announced in March that its global phase III clinical data showed that the overall protective efficacy of the vaccine was 63.7 percent 14 days after inoculation.
The production of Convidecia from Shanghai is expected to significantly enhance the nation's domestic vaccine supply, and it will also lay a foundation for the city to build a biomedical center and large-scale production base for other vaccines targeting major infectious diseases, experts said.
Gao, the governor of Baoshan, said the North Shanghai Biomedical Industrial Park has been developing at an accelerated pace.
It has attracted a number of companies, including CanSino SPH, and the development of the industry will generate momentum for the district's economy, he said.