Sinopharm's Wuhan affiliate boosts COVID-19 shot annual capacity to 1 bln doses

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A Sinopharm sign is seen at the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, China, September 5, 2020. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

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BEIJING, June 1 (Reuters) - A Wuhan-based affiliate of China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) said the start of operations at a new factory will raise the annual production capacity of its COVID-19 vaccine to at least 1 billion doses.

The Wuhan Institute of Biological Products made the announcement in a statement released late on Monday through social media. It did not specify when it will operate the factory at full capacity.

Still, the announcement marks a step toward state-backed Sinopharm's annual capacity target of 3 billion doses for its COVID-19 vaccines.

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The Beijing Institute of Biological Products, another Sinopharm affiliate whose shot gained emergency-use approval from the World Health Organization, has a factory with annual capacity of 1 billion doses and is also building a new facility.

China has approved four COVID-19 vaccines from domestic makers Sinopharm, Sinovac Biotech Ltd (SVA.O) and CanSino Biologics Inc (6185.HK), for general public use, and three other vaccines for emergency use.

Sinovac, whose COVID-19 vaccine capacity is 2 billion doses per year, on Tuesday said it has supplied over 600 million doses at home and abroad as of the end of May.

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Reporting by Roxanne Liu and Ryan Woo; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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