Significant advances made in national medical science over the past decade

A worker performs sample tests at a medical company in Jiangsu province on April 9, 2020. [Photo by Tang Dehong/for China Daily]

China’s medical community has made significant progress in its ability to innovate over the past decade, generating new drugs for complicated diseases and boosting the fight against COVID-19, health officials and experts said Thursday. .

Liu Dengfeng, an official with the Department of Health Science, Technology and Education of the National Health Commission, said two major campaigns to improve medical innovation since 2008 led to the development of 80 first-class innovative medicines.

“China has made great strides in manufacturing innovative rather than generic drugs, improving the quality of pharmaceutical companies, and strengthening the prevention, control, diagnosis and treatment of contagious diseases,” he said. he said at a press conference.

Meanwhile, China has built 50 clinical research centers nationwide covering a large number of common diseases, as well as 75 key laboratories for biomedical studies.

Jiang Jiandong, director of the Institute of Materia Medica of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said that special attention has been paid to the research of cancer drugs, giving rise to over 400 projects and market approval of 31 new drugs in about a decade.

“The first in-house developed targeted cancer treatment, icotinib (a drug used to treat a type of lung cancer) causes far fewer side effects than chemotherapy,” he said. “Zanubrutinib (a domestically developed drug for the treatment of lymphoma) has not only obtained approval from the national drug regulatory agency, but can also be exported to the United States.”

Jiang added that clinical research on CAR-T, a new immunotherapy, has also entered an advanced stage. Promising drug candidates in development include those for breast, lung and brain tumours.

According to the commission, progress has also been made in the development of pathogenic microbe laboratories, where a wide range of research takes place, including the screening of viral strains, the preparation of vaccines and the first trials of drugs.

“The number of these labs was insufficient and their layout was inadequate in the past, so we have intensified planning and construction in recent years,” he said, adding that there are 63 level 3 and 4 labs. biosafety laboratories across China, and 46,000 biosafety laboratories. level 2 labs that handle human pathogens across the country now.

The growing innovation capacity in the medical field has also played a vital role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the identification of the pathogen and the development of diagnostic kits, vaccines and drugs.

“We also created the world’s first technical standards for vaccine factories deemed to pose a higher biosafety risk, enabling us to accelerate mass manufacturing of vaccines,” he said.

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