Chinese pharma firms to gain competitive edge from Omicron vaccines
Some 19 COVID-19 vaccines are in clinical development in China.
Pharmaceutical companies that develop vaccines with efficacy against Omicron subvariants are expected to gain a significant competitive advantage in China amidst a surge in infections in the East Asian nation, said a report from GlobalData.
Omicron lineages BA.5.2 and BF.7 account for 97.5% of all local infections in China, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. With new cases spreading rapidly, the National Health Commission (NHC) announced a national fourth booster vaccination campaign.
Chinese vaccine developers have been focused on expanding their COVID-19 pipelines to include targeted vaccines with the ability to tackle new variants, the report said.
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There are currently 19 COVID-19 vaccines in clinical development in China, with only 3 candidates in Phase III trials. Most of these are mRNA vaccines (58%), GlobalData said.
“As COVID-19 continues to surge in China, it is becoming increasingly important for Chinese pharmaceutical companies and regulators to allow approval of newer, more effective vaccines and to expand vaccination programs for the nation to develop herd immunity,” said Anupama Mishra, pharma analyst at GlobalData.
Currently, 87% of the Chinese population has completed a primary homologous vaccination series, whilst only 55% have received a third booster dose, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). But both vaccines are inactivated vaccines and are not targeted against the prevailing Omicron variants.
“Chinese regulators must approve or import mRNA vaccines and increase heterologous booster dosing to strengthen their national immunization program,” said Mishra.