China’s Fosun Pharma to import 100 million BioNTech vaccine doses

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A Chinese pharmaceutical company announced Wednesday that it has agreed to buy at least 100 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine from German company BioNTech, provided Beijing approves its use.

China has rapidly developed its own COVID-19 vaccine candidates and ramped up production facilities, but local firms have also partnered with overseas developers to supply the world's most populous country.

Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group announced that its subsidiary has reached an agreement with the German company aimed at ensuring "adequate supplies" of vaccines in China. An initial payment of 125 million euros ($ 50 million) for 50 million cans will be made by year-end.

Fosun Pharma announced that it will pay the remaining 125 million euros after receiving approval to market the German vaccine in mainland China.

The agreement did not specify when the remaining 50 million cans would arrive.

Pfizer and BioNTech's mRNA vaccine has already been approved for emergency use in countries such as the US, UK and Singapore.

The vaccine is based on cutting edge technology that uses synthetic versions of molecules known as messenger RNA to hack into human cells and effectively convert them into vaccine factories.

Five vaccines are in the final stages of development in Beijing. At least a million people should receive a sting after the emergency vaccine candidates are approved.

China has reached agreements to ship millions of doses of Chinese-made vaccines to other countries after the outbreak was largely brought under control at home.

On Tuesday, health officials in a district in northern Heilongjiang Province where officials have fought a small number of cases said they would start offering doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the public.

The shocks cost 420 yuan (US $ 64), but the statement didn't make it clear which vaccine was being offered.

Three of China's five vaccine products that are in the final stages of development use an inactivated form of the novel coronavirus to boost immunity.

Fosun Pharma is majority-owned by Fosun International, a Chinese conglomerate that owns France-based resort giant Club Med and travel company Thomas Cook.

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© 2020 AFP

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