Beijing offers Latin America $1bn loan to help it access China’s coronavirus vaccine

Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that China plans to provide a $1 billion loan to make its Covid-19 vaccine accessible for countries across Latin America and the Caribbean.

According to the ministry, China made the pledge at a virtual meeting of ministers from some Latin American and Caribbean nations. Argentina, Barbados, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, Peru and Uruguay also participated in the event, at which they discussed cooperation to tackle the impact of the pandemic. 

“The Chinese foreign minister stressed that the vaccine developed in his country will be a public good of universal access, and that his country will provide a $1 billion loan to support the access of the nations of the region,” said the Mexican ministry, without providing any details on when such a vaccine might be available to be distributed.

China is one of several countries forging ahead in the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine. Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech's experimental vaccine is set to become the country's second – and the world's third – to enter final stage testing later this month.

China is behind eight of the 19 vaccine candidates in human trials, with front runners including Sinovac's experimental drug and one jointly developed by the military and CanSino.

Four of the Chinese candidates in human trials are inactivated vaccines, including Sinovac's and two vaccines from China National Biotec Group (CNBG), a unit of state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm).

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