China has issued its first COVID-19 vaccine patent.

Last week, the Chinese authorities granted their first and only patent for a COVID-19 vaccine to Chinese vaccine maker Cansino. Although the patent could ensure safety, it most certainly doesn’t mean that the vaccine is ready for widespread use, as there is still the process of clinical trials, also known as phase three. China will have to carry out a “marketing approval” process to ensure that this will be safe and efficient for widespread use.

Cansino began their race against time and other rivals in March, when their vaccine became the second to receive global approval for human trials. However, in recent months, other vaccine makers have pushed ahead in phase three trials, which have tested on thousands of human volunteers. In order to acquire their patent rights Cansino had to demonstrate an innovate aspect and utility within their invention. However, other leading Chinese vaccine makers have also similarly filed for patents, meaning more are likely to be granted in the near future.

On average, it could take a period of seven or more years for a drug to receive marketing approval. However, given the rapid growth and spread of COVID-19, a vaccine process is likely to be fast-tracked. As mentioned, the granting of the patent will not necessarily prove Cansino’s vaccine to be successful. Almost all drugs are granted patents before clinical trials have even began, as not only does it ensure the protection of intellectual property, but it also enables for funding and investment.

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