Construction has begun on a factory in Serbia that will produce China's Sinopharm vaccine for use in the country and wider region.
The project is a partnership between Group42, Sinopharm CNBG, the Republic of Serbia and Hayat Biotech, which makes Hayat-Vax, the UAE’s version of the Sinopharm vaccine.
The Serbian plant, located near the capital Belgrade, will produce 36 million doses each year. Serbia has vaccinated a high percentage of its population.
A ground-breaking ceremony in the capital was attended last week by Serbian President Aleksander Vucic; Khaldoon Al Mubarak, chief executive and managing director of Mubadala and board member of Group42; Peng Xiao, chief executive of Group42; Yang Huichuan, vice president of Sinopharm CNBG, among others.
President Vucic said it would be one of the most modern vaccine plants.
“I am proud that we have tried to solve some of the regional and world problems together with our Chinese and Emirati partners,” he said in a statement carried by UAE news agency Wam.
Mr Al Mubarak said the joint venture showed what could be achieved through global partnerships and investment.
It came days after Hungary announced it signed a letter of intent with Sinopharm to produce the vaccine.
The country plans to build a factory to manufacture the shot over the next 10 months.
It aims to become self-sufficient in vaccine production from the end of 2022.
Sinopharm's vaccine was approved for emergency use by the World Health Organisation in May.
It announced four new vaccines at a recent trade fair in China, including two updated inactivated shots, to tackle the strains.
The company is seeking approval to conduct trials of the inactivated vaccines, which it hopes to obtain results from by mid-2022, and make available to market shortly afterwards, according to China Global Television Network.
Until then, people will receive the first generation Sinopharm vaccine, which has proved effective against variants, according to research.