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China’s Qingdao orders city-wide testing after new COVID-19 infections

SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) – The Chinese city of Qingdao said on Monday it will test its entire population of more than 9 million people for coronavirus, after discovering 12 new infections that appeared to be linked to a hospital treating imported infections.

Daily COVID-19 infections in mainland China have fallen drastically since early in the outbreak, which first emerged in the city of Wuhan. China had reported no new domestically transmitted cases since early August, but has remained on high alert.

Qingdao reported a total of six new COVID-19 cases and six asymptomatic infections on Sunday, all linked to the Qingdao Chest Hospital, where infected travellers arriving from overseas have been treated in an isolated area.

The specific source of infection was still under investigation, the city government said on Sunday.

The testing would cover the city in five days, the city said.

The new cases were all of current or former patients in Qingdao Chest Hospital, hospital staff, or their family members. One asymptomatic case was a taxi driver whose wife worked at the hospital and was also infected.

Qingdao said it has locked down the Qingdao Chest Hospital as well as the emergency department of its central hospital, which the taxi driver visited. Buildings housing infected individuals have also been locked down as part of the city’s virus containment measures.

The new infections emerged shortly after China completed its Golden Week holiday, during which millions of people travelled domestically.

Disease control authorities in several cities including Beijing advised residents to avoid unnecessary trips to Qingdao. An investment and trade expo in Qingdao organised by the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and scheduled for the weekend of Oct. 16-18 was postponed, state TV reported.

Qingdao’s mass testing campaign is not China’s first. Wuhan tested its entire population, and mass schemes involving several million samples have also been conducted in Beijing and Urumqi.

The National Health Commission’s daily tally reported 21 confirmed COVID-19 cases, but none in Qingdao were included. The number of new nationwide asymptomatic cases, which China counts separately from confirmed cases, rose to 32 from 23 a day earlier, the NHC said. It did not offer a breakdown on where the new asymptomatic cases were reported, although it said 29 were imported.

Total confirmed COVID-19 cases in mainland China now stand at 85,578. The death toll remains at 4,634.

(Reporting by Winni Zhou, Jing Wang and Engen Tham in Shanghai and Roxanne Liu in Beijing; Writing by Se Young Lee; Editing by Christian Schmollinger, Michael Perry and Tom Hogue)

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Shenzhen-listed traditional medicine makers ride high on endorsement by public face of China’s fight against coronavirus



a man cutting a cake: A traditional Chinese medicine pharmacy in Weinan City, in China’s northwest Shaanxi Province. The overall industry has stalled, with only 17 out of 68 TCM makers recording year-on-year growth in revenue in the first half of 2020. Photo: Xinhua


A traditional Chinese medicine pharmacy in Weinan City, in China’s northwest Shaanxi Province. The overall industry has stalled, with only 17 out of 68 TCM makers recording year-on-year growth in revenue in the first half of 2020. Photo: Xinhua

Two Shenzhen-listed makers of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical and Tianjin Chase Sun Pharmaceutical, have reaped stunning gains this year, riding on endorsements by the public face of China’s successful fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Yiling reported a 57 per cent jump in net profit to 714 million yuan (US$106 million) for the first half of 2020, while its stock price surged by as much as 245 per cent between January and mid April, hitting its highest level since it went public in 2011. Chase Sun recorded 2.8 billion yuan in revenue for the first half, a 22 per cent increase compared with the same period last year.

Their fortunes came even as growth in the overall TCM industry stalled, with only 17 out of 68 TCM makers listed in China recording year-on-year growth in revenue in the first half of 2020, according to companies’ earnings reports.

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Behind Yiling and Chase Sun’s success is their close association with Zhong Nanshan, a top mainland Chinese medical expert famous for leading the country’s coronavirus containment efforts. A pulmonologist who has also studied in the UK, Zhong is a supporter of TCM and has frequently recommended the use of traditional remedies for treating coronavirus patients.

Yiling was founded in 1992 by TCM practitioner Wu Yiling, who is famous for developing a concoction of leech, whole scorpion, centipede, soil beetle and cicada slough used to treat cardiovascular diseases.



Zhong Nanshan wearing a suit and tie: A pulmonologist who has also studied in the UK, Zhong Nanshan is a supporter of TCM. Photo: Handout


© Provided by South China Morning Post
A pulmonologist who has also studied in the UK, Zhong Nanshan is a supporter of TCM. Photo: Handout

Both Wu and Zhong are academicians at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the highest academic title conferred by Beijing to engineers and scientists, and have collaborated since at least 2015, when Wu invited Zhong to join a 460 million yuan research lab set up for academicians by his company. In 2016, they co-founded a research centre to tackle lung diseases using TCM in the southern city of Guangzhou.

While his collaboration with Yiling is focused on research, Zhong’s association with Chase Sun has more to do with business. In April 2012, a Guangzhou-based medical foundation led by Zhong invested 3.5 million yuan in a pharmaceutical company along with Chase Sun, which invested 5 million, according to Tianyancha, a public database of business records.

Zhong has since sat on the board of the company along with Yao Xiaoqing, Chase Sun’s chairman. Founded in 1996, Chase Sun transferred a controlling stake in 2019 to the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of Chengdu, and has become a state-owned company affiliated with the city in Southwest China.

Zhong, Yiling and Chase Sun did not reply

What China’s Speedy COVID Vaccine Deployment Means for the Pandemic

In the race for a coronavirus vaccine, China is making bold promises. A Chinese health official has publicly pledged that an effective coronavirus vaccine will be available by the end of the year. The country has also committed to sharing its vaccines with more than a dozen nations, particularly low-income countries that it has close ties with. But even if a vaccine is ready soon, some scientists question whether the country will be able to produce enough doses to meet its international commitments, and if deals with individual countries are the best way to ensure equitable vaccine distribution.

Wu Guizhen, the chief biosafety expert at China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing, told Chinese state media last month that two vaccines developed by Shanghai pharmaceutical group Sinopharm will be available in November or December. The vaccines are being tested in countries including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Peru and Argentina.

On 9 October, China also announced that it had joined COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX), the collaborative effort by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, together with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the WHO, which is aiming to provide 2 billion doses of vaccine to the most vulnerable people and to health-care workers, especially in poor countries. Some 80 wealthy ‘self-funding’ countries have committed to support the initiative, with the notable exception of the United States. It is not clear yet whether China will commit money or vaccines, and how much.

Chinese vaccine makers have developed four of the roughly dozen leading candidate vaccines that are in the final stages of testing worldwide. No vaccine has yet completed the crucial phase III trials that are needed to firmly establish safety and efficacy. But that hasn’t stopped hundreds of thousands of people in China and abroad being injected with one of the four Chinese vaccine candidates under policies known as emergency-use authorization. The vaccines include those developed by Sinopharm, plus a jab developed by Beijing-based vaccine maker Sinovac and another by CanSino Biologics in Tianjin.

Scientists say the country’s drug regulator, which is part of the Ministry of Health, needs to wait for robust trial data that shows the vaccines are safe and effective before granting vaccines full approval.

In an e-mail to Nature, Wu said that the health ministry will await the results of large trials before approving them for sale. “Until then, there are still uncertainties,” she says.

Outside China, expectations are high that a successful Chinese vaccine will soon be available. Sinopharm’s large-scale trials in Argentina, which started last month, have received widespread media coverage, says Eduardo Spitzer, the scientific director of Laboratorio Elea Phoenix in Buenos Aires, which is organizing the trial. “We are working as fast as possible, but without losing quality in the data obtained from the trials.”

Demand and supplies

China’s leader Xi Jinping told the World Health Assembly in May that its vaccines would be a “global public good”, and the list of countries with which China has promised to

China’s Experimental COVID-19 Vaccine Earns Positive Early Reviews

KEY POINTS

  • A Chinese experimental coronavirus vaccine being developed by the Institute of Medical Biology was shown to be safe in an early stage clinical trial
  • Researchers reported no severe adverse reactions from the injection
  • Most notably, the vaccine proved to be effective and induced an immune response within vaccine recipients

A Chinese experimental coronavirus vaccine being developed by the Institute of Medical Biology was shown to be safe in an early stage clinical trial, researchers said. 

The potential vaccine is currently in phase one of clinical trials and 191 healthy participants aged between 18 and 59 were given the experimental shot. Researchers reported no severe adverse reactions from the injection but only mild pain, slight fatigue, and redness, itching, and swelling at the injection site.

Most notably the vaccine proved to be effective and induced an immune response within vaccine recipients. 

“All the data obtained in this trial support the safety and immunogenicity of this inactivated vaccine and are encouraging with regard to further studies of its efficacy in the future,” researchers said.

China has vaccinated hundreds of thousands of essential workers and other groups considered at high risk with other vaccines, even as clinical trials had not been fully completed, raising safety concerns among experts.

Aside from China’s vaccine development, there have been other positive signs in the vaccine world.

The European Medicines Agency accelerated the approval process for a Covid-19 vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer. This will allow rapid authorization once the vaccine is deemed safe and clears clinical trials. 

The decision by the EU regulator was based on preliminary results from the companies’ early clinical trials, which showed the vaccine triggers an immune response in adults. 

Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s CEO, previously argued that the pharmaceutical conglomerate could have its vaccine results from its late-stage coronavirus vaccine trial as early as October.  In late July, Pfizer already enrolled 23,000 volunteers in its phase three trial but aims to expand to 44,000 participants to obtain more well-rounded results. 

“We expect by the end of October, we should have enough … to say whether the product works or not,” Bourla said. 

U.S. health officials previously argued that results from late-stage vaccine trials could come in November, if not sooner.

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China’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine appears safe

Oct 7 (Reuters) – A Chinese experimental coronavirus vaccine being developed by the Institute of Medical Biology under the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences was shown to be safe in an early stage clinical trial, researchers said.

In a Phase 1 trial of 191 healthy participants aged between 18 and 59, vaccination with the group’s experimental shot showed no severe adverse reactions, its researchers said on Tuesday in a paper https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.09.27.20189548v1 posted on medRxiv preprint server ahead of peer review.

The most common adverse reactions reported by the trial participants were mild pain, slight fatigue and redness, itching and swelling at the injection site.

The candidate also induced immune response.

“All the data obtained in this trial support the safety and immunogenicity of this inactivated vaccine and are encouraging with regard to further studies of its efficacy in the future,” the paper said.

China has inoculated hundreds of thousands of essential workers and other groups considered at high risk with other vaccines, even as clinical trials had not been fully completed, raising safety concerns among experts.

China has at least four experimental vaccines in the final stage of clinical trials. (Reporting by Miyoung Kim Editing by Robert Birsel)

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China’s Experimental COVID-19 Vaccine Appears Safe: Study | World News

(Reuters) – A Chinese experimental coronavirus vaccine being developed by the Institute of Medical Biology under the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences was shown to be safe in an early stage clinical trial, researchers said.

In a Phase 1 trial of 191 healthy participants aged between 18 and 59, vaccination with the group’s experimental shot showed no severe adverse reactions, its researchers said on Tuesday in a paper https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.09.27.20189548v1 posted on medRxiv preprint server ahead of peer review.

The most common adverse reactions reported by the trial participants were mild pain, slight fatigue and redness, itching and swelling at the injection site.

The candidate also induced immune response.

“All the data obtained in this trial support the safety and immunogenicity of this inactivated vaccine and are encouraging with regard to further studies of its efficacy in the future,” the paper said.

China has inoculated hundreds of thousands of essential workers and other groups considered at high risk with other vaccines, even as clinical trials had not been fully completed, raising safety concerns among experts.

China has at least four experimental vaccines in the final stage of clinical trials.

(Reporting by Miyoung Kim; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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China’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine appears safe: study

(Reuters) – A Chinese experimental coronavirus vaccine being developed by the Institute of Medical Biology under the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences was shown to be safe in an early stage clinical trial, researchers said.

In a Phase 1 trial of 191 healthy participants aged between 18 and 59, vaccination with the group’s experimental shot showed no severe adverse reactions, its researchers said on Tuesday in a paper https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.09.27.20189548v1 posted on medRxiv preprint server ahead of peer review.

The most common adverse reactions reported by the trial participants were mild pain, slight fatigue and redness, itching and swelling at the injection site.

The candidate also induced immune response.

“All the data obtained in this trial support the safety and immunogenicity of this inactivated vaccine and are encouraging with regard to further studies of its efficacy in the future,” the paper said.

China has inoculated hundreds of thousands of essential workers and other groups considered at high risk with other vaccines, even as clinical trials had not been fully completed, raising safety concerns among experts.

China has at least four experimental vaccines in the final stage of clinical trials.

(Reporting by Miyoung Kim; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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