In a sterile corridor lined with laboratories, scientists in hazmat suits drop liquid into small vials with pipettes. Then trays of test-tubes are sealed and packaged into boxes – ready for distribution.
This sprawling new facility in south Beijing is already producing thousands of doses per day of a coronavirus vaccine developed by SinoVac, which the Chinese pharmaceutical firm says will be rolled-out across the world early next year.
Also in the leading pack are a handful of final stage vaccines being developed in countries including the UK and US.
“Our goal is to provide the vaccine to the world, including the US, EU and others,” CEO Yin Weidong said this week, though it remains to be seen if the company can win approval in Western countries with tough regulatory processes.
Beijing appears to be on the cusp of declaring success in the global vaccine race after having already claimed victory in the “people’s war” against the coronavirus. It would be a bold move for China, underscoring its advancing scientific prowess, and one that could help the government deflect global anger against its pandemic cover-up.