As global coronavirus cases neared 30 million on Tuesday, a senior health official in China said she expected a vaccine to be publicly available as early as November this year.
According to the Johns Hopkins University Covid-19 tracker, which relies on official government data, there are 29,190,588 confirmed infections worldwide. Deaths stand at 927,245 and are expected to pass 1 million by October.
Both the death toll and global infections total are believed to be higher, due to differing testing rates and definitions, delays in reporting and suspected underreporting by some countries.
Meanwhile Wu Guizhen, head of biosafety at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said she expected Chinese vaccines for Covid-19 would soon be available to the public as soon as November or December.
Speaking to state broadcaster CCTV, Wu said: “It will be very soon. The progress is currently very smooth.”
China, the world’s largest producer of vaccines, accounts for nine of the 30 vaccines currently undergoing human trials. Last week, the University of Hong Kong, working with mainland Chinese researchers, said a nasal spray vaccine was entering clinical trials.
Thousands of Chinese residents have been given experimental vaccines made by Chinese companies, including China National Biotec Group, a subsidiary of the state-owned Sinopharm, and Sinovac Biotech. In June, authorities approved using an experimental vaccine on those in the military and in July, medical workers and others in “high risk jobs” have been given vaccines.