Beijing’s leading medical advisor has claimed that China’s first COVID-19 vaccines could be ready to use as early as autumn.
Dr Zhong Nanshan, who was appointed to lead the country’s fight against COVID-19, said on Saturday that the coronavirus pandemic should be tackled with mass vaccination, not
The epidemiologist slammed the latter -a concept initially raised by the British government as a way to battle the deadly disease- would cost too many lives.
Herd immunity refers to the state where enough members of the population have acquired immunity to a disease so that it cannot spread within that group.
Dr Zhong said: ‘A country needs to have 60 to 70 per cent of its population to be infected [for herd immunity]. If so, seven per cent of those would die [from
The medical expert said such approach could result in 30 to 40million people dying.
‘That’s shocking. It is too costly,’ he added.
The senior adviser was invited by Baidu, a Chinese search engine, to speak on its live-streaming health conference watched by millions of web users.
The 83-year-old coronavirus expert said that some vaccines developed by Chinese scientists could be ready in autumn for ‘emergency use’.
He added: ‘Some of them could be used for emergency maybe by the end of this year. We believe in the autumn or winter this year if they are needed for an emergency.’
The vaccine timeline revealed by Dr Zhong matches the comments previously made by Dr Gao Fu, director-general of China ‘s Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
Dr Gao said in late April that China could expect to have a successful vaccine for the deadly disease by September.
The health chief added that the vaccine would be used for emergencies, such as a new wave of the virus outbreak. Dr Gao
told state broadcaster CGTN in an interview: ‘To develop a vaccine or specific drug, it always takes time.
‘Because the vaccine will be used on healthy people, you wanna make sure the vaccine you’re developing is safe and efficient.’
‘Maybe by September, we might have a vaccine to be used for emergencies. For example, if we have some emergency outbreak again.’
Dr Gao added that the ‘emergency vaccine’, which would be in its second or third phase of clinical trials, could be used on medical workers before the general population.
‘In my opinion, maybe we will get a vaccine for healthy people early next year,’ the Chinese official stated. China is testing at least five different types of COVID-19 vaccines, according to a report released by the central government on Sunday.
- China, (Daily Mail),
8 June 2020