China approves world’s first inhalable Covid-19 vaccine

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  • The new coronavirus vaccine is needle-free but has yet to be approved for public use
  • China, sticking by its zero-Covid policy, is yet to greenlight any foreign jabs for use, including mRNA shots produced by Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna
Agence France-Presse |
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China is one of the few major economies sticking by a zero-Covid policy. Photo: cnsphoto via Reuters

Chinese drug regulators have approved the world’s first inhalable Covid-19 vaccine, made by Tianjin-based manufacturer Cansino Biologics.

The National Medical Products Administration gave the go-ahead for the vaccine for emergency use as a booster, the company said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange on Sunday.

The needle-free vaccine – which can be stored and administered more easily than intramuscular jabs – will be given through a nebuliser, the company said.

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“The approval will have a positive impact on the company’s performance if the vaccine is subsequently bought and used by relevant government agencies,” the statement added.

The company did not offer details on when the adenovirus-vectored vaccine will be made available for public use.

There is no publicly available verified or peer-reviewed data on the efficacy of the new vaccine.

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Scientists in several countries including Cuba, Canada and the United States are also trialling inhalable Covid-19 vaccines.

China has so far approved eight other locally manufactured injectable vaccines since 2020.

But the country’s drug administrator is yet to greenlight any foreign vaccines, including mRNA shots produced by Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna that have better efficacy rates compared to other types of vaccines.

China is the only major economy sticking to a zero-Covid policy, disrupting travel and businesses.

Officials across the country are now under pressure to curb local virus flare-ups ahead of a key political meeting next month.

The southern tech hub of Shenzhen, with more than 18 million residents, imposed a weekend lockdown in most parts of the city on Saturday, while more than 21 million people in the southwestern metropolis of Chengdu are undergoing mass testing from Monday through Wednesday.

China has administered over 3.4 billion Covid shots, the National Health Commission said on Monday, without offering details on the percentage of the population vaccinated.

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