"Some projects have entered the stage of animal testing," Zeng Yixin, deputy director of the commission, told a press conference on China's fight against the novel coronavirus outbreak.
"Under the premise of ensuring safety, effectiveness and accessibility (of vaccines), (we) foresee that as soon as from April to May this year some vaccines could enter clinical trials, or under specific conditions, could be applied for emergency use," he said.
"Our goal is that if required by the outbreak situation, the emergency use of vaccines, as well as the emergency review and approval process, can be activated in accordance with laws," the official said.
* China reported 889 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection and 118 deaths on Thursday (February 20) from 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.
Among the deaths, 115 were in Hubei Province and one in Zhejiang, Chongqing and Yunnan, respectively. Another 1,614 new suspected cases were reported Thursday.
* China's daily number of newly cured and discharged novel coronavirus patients has surpassed that of new confirmed infections for a third consecutive day.
Thursday saw 2,109 people walk out of hospital after recovery, much higher than the number of the same day's new confirmed infections, which was 889.
A total of 18,264 patients infected with the novel coronavirus had been discharged from hospital after recovery by the end of Thursday.
Thursday marked a second consecutive day that China's daily number of new infections remained under 1,000. The newly recovered coronavirus patients in both Hubei Province and its capital city of Wuhan outnumbered new infections Thursday.
* By the end of Thursday, 68 confirmed cases including two deaths had been reported in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), 10 confirmed cases in the Macao SAR, and 24 in Taiwan including one death.
* Hubei Province, center of the novel coronavirus outbreak, reported 631 new confirmed cases and 115 new deaths Thursday. The latest report brought the total confirmed cases in the hard-hit province to 48,730. Wuhan, the provincial capital, recorded a total of 37,448 confirmed cases.
* Traffic management authorities have handled about 870,000 license-related services for vehicles and drivers online amid the epidemic battle.