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Taiwan is banking on a homegrown Covid vaccine because it struggles to safe provides

Taiwan is banking on a homegrown Covid-19 shot to hurry up its inoculation program because the island and plenty of nations wrestle to safe vaccine deliveries from main drug corporations.

The domestically produced Covid vaccine from Medigen Vaccine Biologics was rolled out final week, with President Tsai Ing-wen receiving her first shot of the two-dose vaccine final Monday.

Medigen’s vaccine was developed in collaboration with the Nationwide Institutes of Well being within the U.S. The vaccine — just like the one from Novavax — relies on a expertise referred to as recombinant protein, which makes use of part of the coronavirus protein to induce an immune response.

Previously week, round 600,000 folks in Taiwan had been inoculated with the Medigen vaccine, the corporate’s Chief Govt Charles Chen advised CNBC’s “Squawk Field Asia” on Tuesday.

Some critics have questioned the approval of Medigen’s vaccine. Well being authorities cleared the vaccine for emergency use in July after finishing solely part two scientific trials in Taiwan with no accessible efficacy knowledge.  

CNBC Well being & Science

Chen advised CNBC that it was not doable to conduct a “conventional efficacy trial” as a result of Taiwan’s an infection fee is “so low.” Such a trial sometimes includes a comparability between a vaccinated group and a management group that doesn’t obtain the vaccine, he defined.

As an alternative, Medigen used a technique referred to as “immunobridging” to deduce the vaccine’s safety degree primarily based on the immune responses in trial members.   

“We are going to say that our safety can be … the identical and even higher than AstraZeneca,” mentioned Chen.

Medigen mentioned in July that it acquired approval to conduct a part three scientific trial for its Covid vaccine in Paraguay.

Covid vaccine deliveries

Taiwan’s inoculation program bought off to a gradual begin because it — like many governments globally — confronted challenges in securing Covid vaccine deliveries.

The island, with a inhabitants of roughly 24 million, has acquired greater than 10 million doses of Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines, based on public knowledge compiled by Unicef. That features almost 6 million doses donated by the U.S. and Japan, the information confirmed.

Round 42% of Taiwan’s inhabitants has acquired at the least one shot of the Covid vaccine, of which fewer than 4% has been absolutely vaccinated, based on statistics compiled by on-line repository Our World in Knowledge.  

Whereas Taiwan reported only a few Covid infections final 12 months, the island’s instances jumped in Might. Nonetheless, Taiwan’s cumulative case whole stays comparatively low. The variety of every day reported instances within the island has since dropped, not like a lot of its Asian neighbors that are nonetheless combating surging infections.

The island has reported 15,995 confirmed instances and 835 deaths because the begin of final 12 months, the Taiwan Facilities for Illness Management mentioned Tuesday.

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