China's drug regulators have approved the world's first inhaled vaccine against COVID-19, made by Tianjin-based manufacturer CanSino Biologics, sending the company's share price up 7% today, Darik reports.

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The National Medical Products Administration has given the go-ahead for the vaccine for emergency use as a booster, the company said in a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Sunday.

Following the announcement, the company's shares rose 14% this morning before closing 7.1% higher than their opening value.

The needle-free vaccine, which can be stored and administered more easily than intramuscular injections, will be administered via a nebulizer, the company said.

"The approval will have a positive impact on the company's bottom line if the vaccine is purchased and used by relevant government agencies," the statement added.

The company did not offer details on when the adenovirus vaccine would be made available for public use.

There are no publicly available verified or peer-reviewed data on the efficacy of the new vaccine.

In the US, Pfizer and Moderna approved Omicron's updated Covid vaccines

Scientists in several countries, including Cuba, Canada and the United States, are also testing inhaled vaccines against COVID-19.

So far, China has approved eight other domestically produced injectable vaccines since 2020.

But the country's drug regulator has yet to greenlight foreign vaccines, including mRNA injections made by Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna, which have better efficacy rates than other types of vaccines.

China is the only major economy to adhere to a zero-covid policy, disrupting travel and business.

Officials across the country are now under pressure to contain local outbreaks of the virus ahead of next month's key political meeting.

The southern technology hub of Shenzhen, home to more than 18 million people, imposed a weekend lockdown on most parts of the city on Saturday, while more than 21 million people in the southwestern metropolis of Chengdu underwent mass testing from Monday to Wednesday.

More than 3.4 billion vaccines have been administered in China, the National Health Commission announced today, without offering details on the percentage of the population vaccinated.

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