Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinopharm announced that one million people received experimental "emergency" vaccinations through the country's national emergency program Wednesday. Another US-based biotechnology giant, Moderna, said it also intends to apply for an emergency use authorisation (EUA) with the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) in the coming weeks.
According to Reuters, two vaccine candidates were developed by Sinopharm's subsidiary China National Biotech Group (CNBG) and the third vaccine was developed by Sinovac Biotech.
These developments assume significance against the backdrop of Pfizer seeking emergency use authorisation of its COVID-19 vaccine from the U.S. regulators.
"In terms of emergency use, the vaccines were applied to almost a million people and there has not been a single case of a serious adverse event".
"Our vaccines have been given to about one million people and we have not received any information about serious negative reactions", said Sinopharm's Chairman, Liu Jingzhen.
Both low and standard doses of the vaccine triggered responses in both parts of the immune system. The vaccine is now undergoing a three phase clinical trial overseas with 60,000 participants.
Sinopharm is testing two vaccines in late-stage trials in countries including the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Peru, and Argentina.
"Until now, all our progress, from research to clinical trials to production and emergency use, we have been leading the world", Jingzhen continued.
Competition has intensified among pharmaceutical companies racing to develop a Covid-19 shot, with two vaccines - one by USA company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, and another by USA firm Moderna - publishing large-scale trial data this month that showed their jabs were around 95 percent effective against Covid-19.
The Serum Institute of India is conducting the phase-three trial of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, while Bharat Biotech and ICMR has already started the phase-three trail of the indigenously developed COVAXIN jab.
Both Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines use messenger RNA (mRNA), boosting the body's immune response against the virus.
While doses of the vaccine candidates are forecast to be made before the end of 2020 the firms each said global rollouts are likely to take place next year.
Sinopharm didn't respond to Newsweek's request for comment in time for publication.