Hong Kong (CNN) The Chinese government has approved the use of an experimental Covid-19 vaccine for the country’s military — the latest step in a global race to stop the deadly disease caused by the novel coronavirus.The vaccine, known as Ad5-nCoV, was jointly-developed by the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology — part of the Chinese government’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences — and vaccine company CanSino Biologics.
In a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Monday, CanSino announced that China’s Central Military Commission had given the vaccine a “military specially-needed drug approval” on June 25. The special permission will last for one year and will only apply to military personnel.
China has repeatedly insisted that its military has remained unaffected by the pandemic, with officials claiming that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), has not recorded a single coronavirus case.US observers, however, have cast doubt on the claims, noting that the PLA is the among the world’s largest standing armies, making it statistically unlikely that its personnel have not been exposed to the virus.
Neither the Chinese government nor CanSino have said how broadly the vaccine will be distributed, which units were be selected or whether it will be mandatory or voluntary for personnel.
UAE and China launch Phase 3 clinical trial in humans for Covid-19 vaccineChina is just one of several countries rushing to produce a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, which has now infected more than 10.3 million people worldwide and killed at least
There is no clear picture of when a vaccine might be available, or even if one is possible, but top US infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has said there are hopes for a drug by the end of 2020. No vaccine has been approved yet for commercial release.Currently, at least 17 vaccines are in clinical evaluation around the world, according to the World Health Organization, eight of which are being developed in China.According to the statement from CanSino, the first and second phases of their Ad5-nCoV vaccine trials have already been completed.Get CNN Health’s weekly newsletter
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