To combat COVID-19, China on Friday said four vaccines are now in phase-III clinical trials, officials said.

“So far, we have 11 vaccines that have entered clinical trials, among which four have entered phase three clinical trials,” state-affiliated China Global Television Network (CGTN) quoted Wang Zhigang, Chinese Minister for Science and Technology, as speaking at the Global Science and Life Health Forum in Beijing.

“China boosted the development of five technical routes in parallel for COVID-19 vaccines,” he added.

Among the four candidate vaccines in China, the one developed by Chinese biopharmaceutical firm CanSino Biologics and a team led by infectious disease expert Chen Wei is an adenoviral vector-based vaccine, while the other three are based on the inactivated virus, according to CGTN.

The Chinese authorities said local residents can start receiving the vaccine by November or December this year.

“Ordinary Chinese residents could start receiving COVID-19 vaccines as early as November or December, as the current Phase III clinical trials have been going smoothly,” the state-run media quoted Wu Guizhen, chief biosecurity expert from China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as saying.

“In April, I was vaccinated as an experimental population. I am feeling good in these months without any abnormal condition,” said Wu. “I didn’t feel local pain when vaccinating,” he added.

Since first appearing in Wuhan, China last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 188 countries and regions.

More than 30 million people have been infected globally, with 946,158 deaths and 20.53 million recoveries, according to figures compiled by US-based Johns Hopkins University.

The US, India and Brazil are currently the worst-hit countries.

*Writing by Islamuddin Sajid

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