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On Tuesday, Sinovac, one of the leading vaccine makers in China, said it needed more time to determine the effectiveness of its COVID-19 vaccine, refuting earlier claims by its partner in Indonesia that its vaccine was found to be 97% effective in the ongoing clinical phase III. testing.
Bio Farma, the state-owned vaccine maker and partner of Sinovac in Indonesia, reported that Sinovac’s COVID-19 candidate is 97% effective in phase III clinical trials. “Our clinical trials team has found, within a month, that interim data shows up to 97% for its effectiveness,” said Iwan Setiawan, a spokesperson for Bio Farma, on Tuesday.
But Sinovac clarified Blooomberg that the 97% figure does not refer to the efficacy of the vaccine, claiming instead that it represented the vaccine’s seroconversion rate. The seroconversion rate detects whether the vaccine produces COVID-19 antibodies – which means the vaccine raised antibodies in 97% of the trial volunteers who received it – but does not necessarily prove that the vaccine protects against COVID-19. Sinovac did not return immediately Fortunerequest for comment from.
97% efficiency would be the best clinical trial data reported by any vaccine manufacturer to date: US-based companies Pfizer and Moderna reported efficacy rates of 94% and 95%, respectively, in phase III trials in the United States
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But Bio Pharm drew its conclusion on the effectiveness of Sinovac from a smaller group of participants, around 1,600, and in a shorter time frame.
Pfizer, which co-developed its candidate with Germany’s BioNTech, reported in November that it had obtained its 94% efficacy rate from a phase III trial of 43,000 participants that began in July. Moderna’s Phase III trial also began that month and included 30,000 volunteers.
A spokesperson for PT Bio Farma said on Tuesday that full results from the Phase III trial of Sinovac are expected to arrive in January 2021.
Sinovac’s phase III trial results are eagerly awaited because its vaccine does not require expensive cold chain networks needed for Pfizer and Moderna applicants, making it a more viable option for low- and middle-income countries with fewer resources. Such a vaccine is essential for an early end to the pandemic, as it can be more widely distributed than doses requiring difficult storage.
On Monday, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said Indonesia had received 1.2 million doses of Sinovac’s vaccine candidate, called CoronaVac, in preparation for potential vaccine distribution in Indonesia early next year. Indonesia is also expected to receive an additional 1.8 million doses of CoronaVac in January, along with raw material supplies for Bio Farma to produce an additional 45 million doses of the candidate.
On Monday, Sinovac received a $ 515 million investment from Beijing drugmaker Sino Biopharm. Sinovac said the new funding stream would help the company double its manufacturing capacity produce more 600 million doses of CoronaVac per year.
The Brazilian, Turkish and Chilean authorities have also approved the phase III clinical trials of Sinovac. In Brazil, the phase III trial of Sinovac has reached an advanced stage; it started in July and includes 13,000 people. Observers believe the company may publish provisional results on the trials in the next few days.
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