On Wednesday, a Chinese pharmaceutical company said preliminary analysis of clinical trial results showed that one of its coronavirus vaccines was effective, an announcement that sent a positive signal for the global rollout of Chinese vaccines but lacked important details .
The company, a state-controlled company called Sinoparm, Said that a commentary candidate It had an efficacy rate of 79 percent based on an interim analysis of phase 3 trials by the Beijing Institute of Biological Products arm. Sinpharma said it filed an application with Chinese regulators to allow the vaccine to be widely used.
If supported, the results would claim that Chinese authorities have in recent times claimed that the country’s vaccines are safe and effective. Officials have already moved ahead with the plans Vaccination of 50 million people In China until mid-February, when millions are expected to travel for a Lunar New Year holiday.
But the declaration of Sinopharm, only a few sentences long, provided no breakdown of the result and left many questions unanswered, adding to one lack of clarity Which has been threatening China’s coronavirus vaccine development for months.
China’s campaign to develop a vaccine in the country speaks of the country’s technical and diplomatic ambitions. A successful vaccine would support the country’s claim as an ally and competitor to the United States and other developed countries.
Results of the Sinopharma vaccine suggest that it is less effective than others accepted in other countries. Nevertheless, the results are well above the 50 percent threshold, which makes the vaccine clinically effective.
Two other Coronavirus vaccines, made by Moderna And Pfizer-BioNTech, Has already been shown to have an efficacy rate of about 95 percent. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has gained authorization in more than 40 countries. The modernization vaccine has been authorized in the United States, while other countries are evaluating its test results. Russia has announced that it has a Sputnik V vaccine Efficacy rate of 91 percent And has launched a massive vaccination campaign.
Beijing has been heavily burdened by its vaccine promises to strengthen ties with developing countries deemed important to China’s interests. Officials have visited the world, promising to provide the Chinese vaccine as a “global public good” A charm offensive That United States of america May want to counter, especially when The campaign encroaches on his backyard.
The political stakes in a vaccine race are particularly high for China’s ruling Communist Party, which has been criticized for stifling official rule information and playing the virus when it first arrived in Wuhan City late last year Had emerged. A successful vaccine, if made available to the world quickly, can help repair Party image Globally and its leader Xi Jinping. Chinese companies have said that their vaccine will be cheaper and easier to transport, which if proven could give them significant appeal in developing countries.
Chinese vaccines can still be welcomed with other questions. Scientists said the title figures released by Sinopharm were encouraging, but the lack of supporting data made it difficult to independently evaluate the results. Sinopharm did not disclose information about the size of the tested population or any serious side effects, data points that scientists see in such releases.
Pediatrician Dr Murdoch Children’s Research Institute of Melbourne. “With each of these vaccines, we are dealing with bits and pieces of information, but Chinese companies have given less information than Russian companies,” said Kim Mulholland. Australia.
“At least with Russian vaccines, we were told the number of cases and the basis for the evidence that their vaccines were effective,” Dr. Said Mulholland, who has been involved in oversight of several vaccine trials, including a Kovid – 19 vaccine.
Michael Baker, a professor in the Department of Global Health at the University of Otago at the University of Wellington, who is an advisor to the New Zealand government, said that while the initial data for Sinopharm looked promising, it was difficult to ascertain without more information.
“It’s very light on details,” he said. “One question is in which market they propose to use these vaccines, because if they want a global market they are obviously going to supply all those details.”
Details about the efficacy of another Chinese vaccine candidate created by Synovac, a Beijing-based vaccine company One piece released in fashion.
Even before the current inoculation drive, Chinese authorities and companies had already administered Chinese-made vaccines, mostly made by Sinopharm, to more than one million The people In china. The expedition criticized foreign scientists, who said they were concerned that officials had not closely monitored the people after receiving injections outside of clinical trials.
For China, a vaccine that can help protect 1.4 billion people is critical to its plans to revive the economy.
Whenever a case is detected, the country has stamped coronoviruses with restrictions on foreign arrivals, mass trials and tight neighborhood lockouts. But officials are worried that a new wave of infection may come in the winter and hope that the widely available vaccine may help prevent a resurgence and prepare the country for regular travel and business resumes .
Synovac and Sinopharm have used inactive coronaviruses to make their vaccines – a true method tried for over 130 years. Companies use chemicals to inactivate the virus’s genes so that it cannot replicate. Yet inactivated coronaviruses can cause the body’s immune system to produce antibodies against it. By comparison, Modern and Pfizer are taking a revolutionary gene-based approach that has never previously been approved for widespread use.
Experts say it has drawbacks Inactivated vaccines, such as vaccines made by Synovac and Sinopharm. They need to start with large batches of living coronovirus samples, which can pose a biosafety risk. Once the surviving specimens are inactivated, it takes an additional manufacturing step to ensure that none of them survive the treatment.
Another advantage of Vaccines Made by Modern and Pfizer, they are faster to manufacture and more stable than traditional vaccines. Pfizer projects that it will be able to produce 1.3 billion doses in 2021, while Modern expects it to be able to make 500 million for one billion doses.
The Chinese government has promised to produce 610 million doses by the end of the year and expects to make more than one billion doses next year. Several large countries, such as Brazil and Indonesia, where Chinese companies are conducting trials, have each received shipments of more than one million doses of Synovac vaccines. Turkey has Ordered 50 million doses.
Those who were previously vaccinated in China have said that a two-dose diet costs around $ 60 to $ 150. According to people who received the Synovac vaccine, the company is taking a dose of about $ 30. Sinpharma states that the cost of two doses should be less than $ 150. The government has said that it will not make the vaccine free.
Elsie Chen contributed reporting.