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China's Sinovac eyes coronavirus vaccine distribution in S. America

·1 min read

BEIJING, Sept 24 (Reuters) - China's Sinovac Biotech hopes to supply its experimental coronavirus vaccine to more South American countries by outsourcing some manufacturing procedures to a partner in Brazil, its chief executive said on Thursday.

Global vaccine makers, such as Sinovac and AstraZeneca , have partnered with Brazil to conduct late-stage trials of their vaccine candidates in South America's largest nation, battling with the third highest tally of infections worldwide.

Sinovac plans to provide semi-finished products to its partner Instituto Butantan, which will perform filling and packaging and supply finished items to other South American countries, Chairman Yin Weidong told a news conference.

China included Sinovac's vaccine candidate CoronaVac in its emergency use programme launched in July, but late-stage trials overseas have not been completed, arousing safety concerns among experts.

Brazil's state of São Paulo is also likely to start to immunise its population with Sinovac's vaccine in mid-December, pending regulatory approval, its governor has said.

Yin said the company was willing to collaborate and share data with other countries on vaccine emergency use if they need such programs, and is in talks with Chile, among other nations, on conducting Phase 3 clinical studies.

"Different countries have their own options on emergency use authorisation," said Yin, who is also Sinovac's chief executive, adding that he did not know if they would follow China.

Another vaccine candidate developed by a subsidiary of state-backed China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), secured emergency use approval last week in the United Arab Emirates, where it is still being tested.

(Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/)

(Reporting by Thomas Peter and Roxanne Liu in Beijing; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)