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Taiwan's homegrown vaccines effective against COVID variants

Two Taiwan-manufactured vaccines likely to be introduced in July

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Taiwan's Health Minister Chen Shih-chung receives a shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine at National Taiwan University Hospital, March 22, 2021.

Taiwan's Health Minister Chen Shih-chung receives a shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine at National Taiwan University Hospital, March 22, 2021. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Two indigenously developed vaccines in Taiwan can provide protection from the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and some of its mutations.

Local vaccine manufacturers Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp. (高端疫苗) and United Biomedical (聯亞生技) have entered the second phase of clinical trials, involving more than 4,000 people each. The vaccine hopefuls are likely to secure emergency use authorization in June and be rolled out in July.

On the medicine's efficacy against coronavirus variants, a Medigen Vaccine Biologics spokesperson said antibody tests for the company’s vaccine indicated equivalent protection against the U.K. variant, lineage B.1.1.7. While it registered reduced potency against the variant from South Africa, known as B.1.351., it appeared to fare better than Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines in this regard.

Hwang Kao-pin (黃高彬), director of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Division at Taipei's China Medical University Hospital and leader of the United Biomedical COVID vaccine project, said the vaccine delivered satisfactory results in fighting both the U.K. and South Africa mutations.

Effectiveness against the Brazil variant, or P.1, is still being tested on the two homegrown jabs, wrote Liberty Times.

Currently only AstraZeneca vaccines secured from the company and the global distribution platform COVAX are available in Taiwan. Eligible groups have been wary about getting a shot due to reports of rare side effects including blood clots, but the public has been rushing to sign up for self-paid inoculations after the service started on Monday (April 19), reported CNA.


Updated : 2021-05-08 22:42 GMT+08:00