A leading state-owned enterprise in China has just built the world’s largest vaccine plant, as researchers around the globe scramble to develop effective measures for dealing with COVID-19.
China Electronics Corporation (中国电子信息产业集团) recently announced that subsidiary Fourth Construction Co., Ltd. of China Electronics System Engineering (中国电子系统工程第四建设有限公司) had just completed work on China’s first P3 biosafety level (BSL-3) pharmaceutical production facility.
The facility is ready to commence operation, and will be used for the production of a Novel Coronavirus vaccine. According to its developers the plant will have an annual production capacity of 100 million doses.
State media said that the construction of the new plant marks a major advance for the Chinese biotech sector, given that China currently lacks its own domestic standards for the construction of human-use bio-facilities.
BSL-3 facilities are approved for operations involving microbes that are capable of causing severe and potentially lethal diseases, and can be contracted via inhalation.
Fourth Construction was primarily responsible for structural steel design and construction of the facility, as well as air conditioning engineering and water supply systems.
The Hebei-based company was founded in 1953 and is China’s leading construction contractor for P3 facilities, with a market share of over 80% for major building projects involving international biotech companies.
At a press conference held on 18 March Zhong Nanshan (钟南山), a senior expert with China’s National Health Commission (国家卫生健康委) said that China was in the process of working on five different types of Novel Coronavirus vaccines, including a whole virus vaccine, a nucleic acid vaccine, an adenovirus vaccine, a protein vaccine involving genetic engineering, and an influenza vaccine.
Zhong also said that China was “racing” to develop a vaccine by September in advance of the US, and that a product would be ready around that time.
In March human testing commenced in Wuhan for a COVID-19 vaccine that was developed by the Academy of Military Medical Sciences in collaboration Hong Kong-listed CanSino Bio-B.