China's first mRNA COVID-19 vaccine production plant will become operational in October, local media reported Wednesday.
Located in Yuxi, southwest China's Yunnan Province, the facility can produce 200 million doses of mRNA vaccine annually.
The plant will produce mRNA vaccine – ARCoV – jointly developed by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Academy of Military Sciences, Suzhou Abogen Biosciences and Walvax Biotechnology.
The ARCoV uses the same advanced mRNA technique as the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, both of which have an efficacy of around 95 percent, the highest among all approved COVID-19 vaccines.
The phase I and II clinical trials of the Chinese vaccine conducted in China showed it's "fully comparable with two overseas mRNA vaccines," Ying Bo, founder of Suzhou Abogen Biosciences, told China National Radio in April.
Mexico and Indonesia have approved the vaccine for large-scale phase III trials. The trials will also test its effectiveness against the severely transmissible Delta variant, Walvax Biotechnology announced on September 1.
As the core raw materials of the vaccine and key manufacturing equipment have been developed in China, the production capacity at the plant can be expanded quickly.
ARCoV vaccines could be stored at room temperature for over a week and for a longer time at 4 degrees Celsius, which means a relatively low cost for its storage and transportation.
In comparison, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine had to be shipped at ultra-low freezing temperatures between minus 80 and minus 20 degrees Celsius. It could only be kept in a standard freezer at minus 20 degrees Celsius for two weeks. Moderna's mRNA vaccine must be shipped at minus 20 degrees Celsius.