Chinese firm says plans to 'mass produce' Ebola vaccine

Biotechnology research

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A Chinese firm plans to mass produce a military-developed vaccine against Ebola, even as the epidemic which killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa begins to fade.

Privately held Tianjin CanSino Biotechnology Inc is investing 2 billion yuan ($315.14 million) to build a facility in the northeastern city of Tianjin where it will produce the vaccine, an official at the firm told Reuters on Wednesday.

Official news agency Xinhua had earlier reported the news.

The facility will be completed by around 2017-2018, but no date has yet been set for production to start, the official added. The vaccine has been developed by a team at the China's Academy of Military Medical Sciences.

China approved the experimental vaccine for clinical trials in December last year, when it said the move put China amongst the global leaders in the development of vaccines to treat the disease.

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New cases of Ebola have dwindled sharply this year. Earlier this month the three West African countries at the heart of the epidemic recorded their first week with no new cases since the outbreak was declared in March 2014.

The world already has one successful Ebola vaccine, with Merck and NewLink Genetics' product proving 100-percent effective in a clinical study in Guinea in July. U.S. firm Johnson & Johnson started a clinical trial of a two-shot Ebola vaccine in Sierra Leone earlier this month.