|Earlier this month, the head of a well-known, privately-owned Chinese conglomerate told his staff that a vaccine for Covid-19 was expected to come to market by November.
The boss, whose firm has a healthcare division, said that he saw it as a portent of economic recovery; a chance for his firms to sell more, according to a person privy to the comments. Within a few weeks the Chinese government was forced to go public with its apparent progress.
The novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19 originated in humans in China, before it spread ceaselessly across the world. Now China is using its global footprint in a relentless effort to win the race to develop and deploy an effective vaccine.
Last week one of the developmental vaccines was pictured in state-run media; a small branded box was shown, held up by a smiling woman in a lab. Sinopharm said it hopes to have it ready to go on sale by December. It even named a price, equivalent to about $140 (£106).
Official and secret trials
China's determination is out there for all to see.
We know that half of the leading six candidate vaccines being tested in the final stage of mass trials across the world are Chinese. These global trials are a necessity.
Ironically, China is not in a position to test the vaccines on the required scale at home because it's been so successful at containing the spread of the virus within its borders.