Chinese vaccine developer Sinopharm said interim results from final trials of one of its coronavirus vaccines showed an efficacy rate of 79%, bringing the group closer to a large-scale deployment in China and abroad.
The Beijing-based arm of the China National Biotec Group, a unit of Sinopharm that develops the vaccine, published the results on its website on Wednesday. The result erases minimum requirements for Chinese regulators and the group has sought market approval, he added.
The same vaccine, one of two Covid-19 vaccines under development by Sinopharm, received approval in Bahrain and United Arab Emirates this month, after the Gulf states separately declared the vaccine to have an 86% effectiveness rate.
Neither Sinopharm nor the regulators in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have released the details of the data analyzed, making it unclear what explains the difference in reported efficacy rates. Sinopharm did not respond to a request for comment on the gap.
Lack of transparency over data and regulatory approval of Chinese vaccines has caused experts to interview if global standards are met.
Greater openness would help narrow the gaps, according to Xi Chen, associate professor at Yale School of Medicine. Professor Chen said the discrepancies were likely due to independent clinical trials with different numbers of participants conducted in countries at different stages of virus control.
“To further secure market share, especially in some western countries, more data will need to be released,” he said, adding that the Chinese regulator’s conditional approval request would increase Sinopharm’s reach in his country. and in countries where its clinical trials have been conducted.
China’s foreign ministry defended vaccination programs on Monday and reiterated its intention to offer vaccines as a “global public good” once development is complete.
Sinopharm’s two vaccines, which both use a chemically inactivated version of the Sars-Cov-2 virus to trigger an immune response, are the main candidates for distribution in China and countries in the developing world.
More than a million people have already received the jab in China as part of a emergency use program which officials say would be expanded this winter to include all high-risk groups, including workers traveling abroad, healthcare professionals and the elderly, in a bid to prevent a relapse in HIV transmission. virus.
Many countries in the developing world have had difficulty obtaining vaccines from Western companies, including Moderna, BioNTech / Pfizer, and Oxford / AstraZeneca, and are likely to vaccine dependent Chinese pharmaceutical groups.
The efficacy rate, if replicated in a final analysis of Phase 3 results, would place Sinopharm vaccine result below those of Moderna and BioNTech / Pfizer, which achieved an efficiency of over 90%.
Sinopharm, one of China’s largest vaccine manufacturers, said it expects to be able to manufacture 1 billion doses of its two inactivated Covid-19 vaccines by the end of next year. .
Sinovac and CanSino Biologics, two other Chinese pharmaceutical companies, are also developing vaccines.
Chinese vaccines can be transported under normal refrigeration temperatures, rather than the sub-zero conditions required for Moderna and BioNTech / Pfizer jabs.
China’s near-complete eradication of the virus within its borders has given Chinese developers greater leeway to deliver vaccines to overseas markets.
However, sporadic clusters of Covid-19 infections in China, including Beijing and Liaoning province, could increase domestic demand and create a new “urgency to vaccinate the Chinese population, adding uncertainties to its supply on the global market, ”said Professor Chen.
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