BEIJING (Reuters) – Beijing-based TravelSky Technology Ltd is advising its employees to take a candidate vaccine being developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) amid the capital’s latest COVID-19 flare-up, state newspaper Global Times reported.

No vaccine has yet been proven to effectively protect people from the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that has killed more than 400,000 people globally, but multiple candidates are in development.

TravelSky Technology, controlled by state-owned China TravelSky Holding Company, is the country’s dominant provider of information technology to the air travel and tourism industries.

The company did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

Global Times reported last week that China is offering candidate vaccines to employees at state-owned firms travelling overseas as it seeks more data on their efficacy.

Before regulatory approval a vaccine normally has to go through large-scale trials to observe to what extent they provide protection from infection. That ideally requires exposing people in a real-life environment.

Beijing has reported a total of 137 locally transmitted cases over the past few days, all of which traced back to a mega wholesale food market in the city, reinforcing concerns about second-wave infections.

Authorities has stepped up coronavirus-related restrictions to curb the movement of people out of the capital and locked down dozens of residential communities.

(Reporting by Stella Qiu, Roxanne Liu and Brenda Goh; Editing by Jan Harvey)