China to mass produce Ebola vaccine

Beijing: A private Chinese biotechnology company plans to mass produce a vaccine against the Ebola virus developed by Chinese military scientists.

Tianjin CanSino Biotechnology Inc. has started construction of an industry base to produce the vaccine in the Tianjin Economic and Technological Development Area, Xinhua quoted sources with the company as saying on Wednesday.

Investment into the base totals 2 billion yuan (about $317 million) and construction will be complete in September 2018.

The base also produces other vaccines against pneumonia, meningitis and tuberculosis. Annual production is around 200 million vaccines.

Developed by a team of biotech experts with the Chinese Academy of Military Medical Sciences, the Ebola vaccine is based on the 2014 mutant gene type and in the form of freeze-dried powder, which can remain stable for at least two weeks in temperatures of up to 37 degrees Celsius.

Experts say it is suitable for the tropical climate in West African countries, where the deadly epidemic outbreak has killed more than 11,297 people since 2014.

According to the ministry of health of Sierra Leone, one of the three most affected countries along with Liberia and Guinea, the vaccine has proven “clinically safe”.

Since the outbreak, China has offered 120 million US dollars of aid and 500 medical staff and experts to affected countries.