A coronavirus vaccine developed by the Chinese drug manufacturer Sinopharm is 79.3 percent effective at protecting people from Covid-19. This is evident from interim data from its phase 3 tests released by the company, paving the way for millions of Chinese vaccines to enter the world market.
China National Biotec Group (CNBG), a subsidiary of state-owned Sinopharm, said the results were based on interim analysis of Phase 3 studies. In a brief statement on its website, the company gave no further important details, such as the sample size tested or the number of infections in the trial.
Less effective than Pfizer’s and Moderna’s
The company did say the dual vaccine was “safe” and those who received it produced high levels of antibodies to the virus. The Sinopharm vaccine does appear to be less effective than those developed by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, which have shown a 95 percent efficacy rate. The rate announced by Sinopharm is also lower than the 86 percent efficacy reported by officials in the United Arab Emirates following clinical trials of the vaccine conducted there.
China has maintained its vaccines as an important part of its partnerships with developing countries, many of which have struggled to buy supplies of other newly released vaccines. “China’s focus is not on being first, but on the common interests of all humanity,” the state-run Global Times wrote in a Dec. 14 article.
The Sinopharm vaccine uses an inactivated version of the virus to trigger an immune response, unlike the mRNA vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna. It does not need to be frozen, which makes it easier to store and distribute.
50 million Chinese are now being vaccinated by mid-January
Sinopharm, by the way, has another vaccine that is at a late stage of research. Despite lack of regulatory approval, both vaccines have been used on hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens as part of an emergency program for at-risk groups since July.
The Chinese plan to vaccinate 50 million people in the country by mid-next month. Chinese state media reported last week that drug regulators had formally accepted an application from the company for the use of the vaccine in the general public. Sinopharm submitted that application for approval in November.