Taiwan’s government on Monday (July 19) approved the use and production of Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp’s COVID vaccine candidate, a significant step in the island’s plans to develop its own vaccine to protect against the novel coronavirus.

Taiwan-based Medigen said developing its own vaccine has been a major goal of Taiwan’s government, although it has ordered some 20 million shots from Moderna, AstraZeneca and Kovax’s global sharing scheme. The health ministry said the antibodies created by Medigen’s vaccine candidate in clinical trials in Taiwan proved to be “no worse” than those made by AstraZeneca’s vaccines, and that there were no major safety concerns. The ministry said Medigen was to submit a monthly report on safety for the vaccine candidate, MVC-CoV1901, which is designed for people over the age of 20, who will receive two shots 28 days apart.

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said that with the approval of the European Union, it would take some time for the company to increase its production. “There should be a small amount of supplies available in August,” he said.

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