Chinese-made mRNA vaccine starts trial production

A logo of China's vaccine specialist CanSino Biologics Inc is pictured on the company's headquarters in Tianjin, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), China August 17, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

SHANGHAI, Jan 7 (Reuters) - China's CanSino Biologics Inc (6185.HK) has entered "test production phase" for its COVID-19 mRNA booster vaccine, the company said in a post on its social media account late on Thursday.

The vaccine, known as CS-2034, targets new Omicron variants of the virus, which are responsible for the vast majority of infections that have swept across China since the country began dismantling strict COVID curbs last month.

Until now, China has relied on nine domestically-developed COVID vaccines approved for use, including inactivated vaccines, but none have been adapted to target the highly-transmissible Omicron variant and its offshoots that are currently in circulation.

The CanSino booster vaccine is one of China's first home-grown potential vaccines based on mRNA technology similar to that employed in vaccines produced internationally by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

On Thursday, CanSino also reported "positive" interim data from a mid-stage clinical trial in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

According to CanSino, the first phase of its mRNA vaccine production could produce 100 million doses.

Reporting by Casey Hall; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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