The head of a major state-owned Chinese pharmaceutical company says its coronavirus vaccine will be commercially available by the end of the year.

This file photo shows a staff member testing samples of a potential Covid-19 vaccine at a production plant of SinoPharm in Beijing. April 11, 2020.
This file photo shows a staff member testing samples of a potential Covid-19 vaccine at a production plant of SinoPharm in Beijing. April 11, 2020. (Zhang Yuwei via Xinhua / AP)

A potential Chinese coronavirus vaccine under development by Sinopharm could cost $144.27 for two shots.

Sinopharm has said its experimental vaccine could be ready for public use by the end of this year. It has entered a late-stage human test in the United Arab Emirates to gather proof of efficacy for final regulatory approvals.

"It will not be priced very high. It is expected to cost a few hundred yuan for a shot, and for two shots it should be less than 1,000 yuan," China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) chairman Liu Jingzhen told the Guangming Daily newspaper

Blistering race

Governments and drugmakers around the world are in a frenetic race to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus. More than 200 candidates are in development, including more than 20 in human clinical trials.

Moderna Inc said earlier this month that smaller volumes of its experimental vaccine have been priced at $32-$37 per dose.

Last month, the US government struck a deal for an experimental vaccine being developed by Pfizer and partner BioNTech SE that secures enough to inoculate 50 million Americans for about $40 a person.

READ MORE: US inks $1.5B deal with Moderna for 100M Covid-19 vaccine doses

Sinopharm's Liu did not mention whether China's state-backed nationwide insurance programme would cover some of the vaccine costs for consumers, or whether it could be included in the country's free vaccination scheme.

Liu, who is also the company’s Communist Party secretary, told the paper that he had been injected with the vaccine. Reports that Chinese researchers and executives have received shots of their vaccines have raised ethical questions in some scientific circles.

China National Biotec Group (CNBG), a Sinopharm unit, has moved two vaccine strains using the same method into human trials. Its plants in Wuhan and Beijing combined could make over two million doses of the drug annually. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies