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Chinese employees at state-run firm 'pre-test' potential coronavirus vaccine

Chinese employees at state-run firm 'pre-test' potential coronavirus vaccine
© Getty Images

Chinese employees and top executives at a state-run firm participated in a “pre-test” of a potential coronavirus vaccine, the company said in an online post, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

SinoPharm reportedly published photos of company leaders who the firm said assisted in the “pre-test,” with a caption that read: “giving a helping hand in forging the sword of victory.” The company claimed that 30 “special volunteers” offered to get the vaccine before regulators gave the official approval.

The firm also boasted a “spirit of sacrifice” and shared a photo of seven men, including scientists, businessmen and a Communist Party official who has a background in military propaganda, the AP noted.

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SinoPharm received approval for the first phase of human testing for two vaccines in mid- to late April, according to the news service, with added that the firm said on its WeChat account that the “pre-test” was completed at the end of March in an effort “to make the vaccines hit the market as early as possible.”

The Chinese company’s claims come as countries around the world are racing to finalize vaccines. 

China has eight of the nearly two dozen vaccines in stages of human testing, the highest out of any nation, the AP noted, adding that SinoPharm and another Chinese firm are on the final levels of testing.

SinoPharm’s vaccine attempt mirrors the development of the polio vaccine and uses an “inactivated” or killed virus to develop the vaccine. Most Western vaccine development uses technology to focus on the protein on the virus instead. 

In late June, the Chinese government also allowed for the military to use an experimental vaccine before testing to prove its effectiveness finished, the AP reported. 

Chinese officials in 2018 had to recall a rabies vaccine and several children’s DPT vaccines, concluding they did not work.