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Egypt aims for deal to produce Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines

CAIRO, March 22 (Reuters) - The Egyptian government hopes to sign an agreement with China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd before the end of March to manufacture its coronavirus vaccine in Egypt, Health Minister Hala Zayed said on Monday.

Talks between the two sides reached “an advanced stage” and Egypt has asked the Chinese government for assistance over the manufacturing price, Zayed said at a joint press conference with the Chinese ambassador in Cairo.

The planned agreement would be between Sinovac and Egypt’s Holding Company for Biological Products and Vaccines (VACSERA).

Zayed said Egypt hoped to become a centre for manufacturing the vaccine, either for local use or export to African countries. No further details were given.

Sinovac has supplied 160 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to 18 countries and regions, including China, its CEO said on Monday.

Egypt has not received Sinovac vaccines, but has acquired 650,000 doses of another Chinese vaccine developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm).

Zayed said Egypt was ready to cooperate with Chinese companies that are developing new coronavirus vaccines in third phase trials. Egypt participated in similar trials of the Sinopharm vaccine last year. (Reporting by Mahmoud Mourad and Mohamed Zaki; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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