China National Pharmaceutical Group (AKA Sinopharm) announced on July 21 that its COVID-19 vaccine could be ready for public use by the end of 2020, earlier than its previous prediction of 2021, as reported by Reuters on July 23. One of the group's COVID-19 inactivated vaccines began phase III clinical trial in late June in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). According to Sinopharm’s chairman, the company anticipated completing the late-stage human testing within approximately three months.
According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 155 COVID-19 vaccines currently under development in the globe and 23 have entered the clinical trial stage, nine of which are from China. Besides Sinopharm, Oxford University and AstraZeneca [AZN:US]’s vaccine candidate also entered phase III trial roughly in early July, and Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech [SVA:US] launched its phase III trial on July 21 in Brazil, recruiting around 9,000 local volunteers. Before these vaccines enter the market, the US government has ordered 600m vaccines from BioNTech [BNTX:US] and Pfizer [PFE:US], of which vaccines will enter phase IIb/III in late July, and promised to pay USD1.95bn after receiving the first 100m units. In addition, the UK government has also ordered 90m vaccines, with 30m from BioNTech and Pfizer and another 60m from Valneva [VLA:FP].