As the race towards developing, and ultimately mass producing, a COVID-19 vaccine continues around the world, China has now issued a patent to a locally developed vaccine.
The move may push the international market to have stronger trust in a locally developed COVID-19 vaccine in China, as well as demonstrate its originality and creativity.
What does this mean?
The vaccine, which goes by Ad5-nCoV, is nearly ready to be mass-produced at short notice, as per the Global Times.
By granting the vaccine a patent, it pushes forward its efficacy and safety and "convincingly demonstrated the ownership of its intellectual property rights," per CanSino's statement on Sunday via CGTN.
Furthermore, it's believed that this move would also increase the marketing process, as well as confidence in the vaccine.
However, this doesn't mean that the vaccine is good to go quite yet. It still has to undergo its Phase III trials and then be approved for its marketing process in China. It first has to ensure it is safe and effective for use, as per Fortune.
In order to get the patent, CanSino had to prove how its candidate qualified as an invention. According to Fortune, all of China's other vaccine producers have filed separate patents and are awaiting their outcome.
It has to be noted, however, that successfully receiving a patent does not necessarily guarantee a successful outcome of a vaccine. "Almost all drugs are granted patents before they start clinical trials and marketing approval," explained Li Yahong, an expert in patent and pharmaceutical law at the University of Hong Kong, when speaking to Fortune.
Furthermore, "It is entirely normal" for a vaccine to receive a patent at this early stage in clinical trials, said Bryan Mercurio a law professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong who specializes in pharmaceutical law, to Fortune. "What is rare is the speed at which the clinical trials are being conducted."
Even though it's a step forward, there's still a lot more work to be done before this vaccine sees the full light of day.