Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday offered to cooperate with India and other BRICS nations in the development of vaccines against the coronavirus and called for holding a symposium by the five-member bloc on traditional medicine to explore its role in the Covid-19 prevention and treatment. “As we speak the Chinese companies are working with their Russian and Brazilian partners on phase three clinical trials for vaccines. We are prepared to have cooperation with South Africa and India as well,” Xi said while addressing the 12th BRICS summit via video link. The virtual summit, hosted by Russia President Vladimir Putin, was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. “China has joined the COVAX facility and will actively consider providing vaccines to BRICS countries where there is a need,” Xi said. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said nine candidate vaccines, including two from China, are currently being evaluated for inclusion in the COVAX Facility. The COVAX is co-led by Gavi, an international vaccine alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the (WHO). Its aim is to accelerate the development and manufacture of vaccines. So far the coronavirus has infected more than 54 million people around the world and killed more than 1.3 million people even as governments implemented strict lockdowns and restrictions to slow the spread of the virus that originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan. “To support the development of BRICS Vaccine R&D centre, China has designated its own national centre. I propose we convene a BRICS symposium on traditional medicine to explore its role in coronavirus prevention and treatment,” Xi said. He also said that China will open the BRICS partnership on a new industrial revolution innovation centre in the Chinese city of Xiamen. “We welcome the active participation of fellow BRICS countries”, he said. The BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) is known as an influential bloc that represents over 3.6 billion people, or half of the world’s population. The BRICS countries have a combined GDP of USD 16.6 trillion.