China starts work on plant for mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate - media

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has begun work on a facility to manufacture its first COVID-19 vaccine candidate that uses messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, although the candidate is still in early clinical trials, reported government backed Media on Monday.
MRNA technology contains instructions for human cells to make proteins that mimic part of the coronavirus and is used in vaccines from Moderna Inc, as well as Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE. Both vaccines have received efficacy data from large-scale, late-stage studies and from the United States for emergency approval.
The facility for China's mRNA candidates, jointly developed by the Academy of Military Sciences (AMS), Walvax Biotechnology and Suzhou Abogen Biosciences, could be operational within eight months, the official China News Service reported.
The facility will have an annual capacity of 120 million cans in the first phase, the report said.
Known as ARCoV or ARCoVax, the candidate began a Phase 1b clinical trial in October after a Phase 1 trial that started in June, data on the Chinese Clinical Trials Registry's website shows.
At least five Chinese candidates have already participated in phase 3 clinical trials, three of which were given to people at high risk of infection through China's emergency vaccination program.
These three are inactivated vaccines that used inactivated, or killed, versions of the virus that cannot replicate in human cells to trigger immune responses.
(Reporting by Roxanne Liu and Ryan Woo in Beijing; editing by Lincoln Feast.)
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