China awards country’s 1st Covid-19 vaccine patent amid ‘baseless’ US claims that Beijing stole coronavirus research

China has approved the country’s first-ever coronavirus vaccine patent, state media reported, paving the way for home-grown inoculation against the illness.

The vaccine, named Ad5-nCoV, was developed by biopharmaceutical firm CanSino Biologics in partnership with a team led by a Chinese military infectious disease expert. 

In a statement to the Global Times, the Chinese firm said that the patent reflects the vaccine’s effectiveness and safety, as well as safeguarding CanSino’s intellectual property rights (IPR). 

Saudi Arabia and Mexico will soon begin Phase III clinical trials for the CanSino vaccine. The Chinese company is reportedly also hoping to start Phase III trials in Russia, Brazil, and Chile. Results from the first two phases of testing have been promising. 

The patent was approved several weeks after it was alleged that suspected Chinese hackers had targeted biotech firm Moderna, a leading US-based coronavirus vaccine research developer, to steal data.

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The Chinese Foreign Ministry rejected the accusations as “baseless,” claiming that China was leading the way in the development of a coronavirus vaccine and was in fact more worried about other countries stealing their own research.

“We absolutely do not nor need to engage in theft to achieve this leading position,” Wang Wenbin said.

Last week, Russia became the first in the world to register a coronavirus vaccine. The vaccine will be available to the general public starting in January.

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