China has joined the global alliance to produce a vaccine to treat COVID-19, the country’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

The country signed an agreement to officially join COVAX – a WHO-led global platform that supports research and development as well as manufacturing of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“The agreement is an important step taken by China to uphold the concept of a shared community of health for all and to honor its commitment to turn potential COVID-19 vaccines into a global public good,” ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement.

“The COVID-19 pandemic still poses a severe threat to the safety and health of people in all countries. China continues to focus on ensuring that developing countries have equal access to appropriate, safe and effective vaccines,” she said.

Major countries have joined the initiative to help produce the vaccine jointly.

Hua said China has pledged to make vaccines as “a global public good which will be provided to developing countries as a priority”.

“Therefore, China has maintained close communication with COVAX with a positive attitude towards joining it,” she added.

China has at least five potential vaccines under trails.

The COVID-19 infection, first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December, affected over 36 million people worldwide. Over 1 million patients have died due to the infection so far after it spread to 188 countries, regions, and territories.

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